10 Steps to Successful Online Grocery: Chapter 5. Define your substitution policy

Welcome to Chapter 5 of our 10-step guide for successful online grocery service. In this chapter we will talk about substitution policies and the important role they play in providing successful on-demand customer experiences.

Substitution policies deserve special attention because replacing items in the shopping basket is one of the factors that can cause negative customer feedback. In order to make substitutions as successful as possible, some general guidelines and the ability to make immediate decisions is needed.

When you are defining your substitution alignments, it’s essential to try and capture the customer’s thought pattern and understand the customer’s needs. For example, if the customer has ordered Pepsi Max, you might want to substitute it with Coke Zero rather than regular Pepsi since it’s likely the customer is hoping for a sugar free cola rather than sticking to a specific brand.

Most of substitution errors can be avoided by following these common-sense rules:

Always replace

  • Lactose-free with lactose-free
  • Gluten-free with gluten-free
  • Organic with organic
  • Sugar-free with sugar-free
  • ‘Diet’ or ‘light’ with ‘diet’ or ‘light’
  • Domestic with domestic
  • Flavor of the product with the same flavor (strawberry yoghurt)

Always remember to let your customers choose whether they want items substituted or not. However, encouraging your customers to allow substitutions is recommended.  This is because in our experience, the less missing products in the orders, the more likely customers are to shop online.

In summary, the recipe for success when it comes to substitutions is: encouraging shoppers to allow substitutions; offering the opportunity to give you specific instructions, and paying special attention to your substitution policies.

Naveo Tip: The Naveo Commerce on-demand platform has taken into consideration everything that you need for successful substitutions. First, it lets your customer decide whether substitutions will be applied or not. Second, for each item in the basket, the customer is able to write down comments and notes. Also, the system automatically remembers previous substitution policies and suggests suitable products, making picking and replacing products easy for even the newest employees.

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