Welcome to Chapter 5 of our 10-step guide for successful online grocery service. Here we will talk about grocery substitution policies. Substitution policies play an important role in providing successful on-demand customer experiences.
Substitution policies deserve special attention. Replacing items in the shopping basket 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. Try to understand the customer’s needs.
For example, if the customer has ordered Pepsi Max then it could be substituted with Coke Zero instead of regular Pepsi. The customer is likely hoping for a sugar free cola rather than sticking to a specific brand.
Grocery Substitution Guidelines
Grocery substitutions are a tricky subject and a relatively new trend within the retail ecommerce sector.
After all, customers are generally more used to shopping for generic retail items compared to groceries. When collecting customer feedback, some consumers may be opposed to the concept of subs.
However, it is your job as a brand leader to implement a system which will meet subconscious expectations.
There are a few simple rules that can be followed when it comes to online grocery software. Most grocery substitution errors can be avoided by brands when following these common-sense rules:
Common Sense Rules
- 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
- Flavour of the product with the same flavour (strawberry yoghurt)
Improve Customer Service: Substitute Products
Always remember to let your customers choose whether they want items substituted or not. However, encouraging your customers to allow substitutions is recommended. When orders contain fewer missing products, customers expectations are met and they are more likely to shop online.
Not only this, but as a marketing strategy it makes sense too. Grocery stores can struggle to influence change in shopper behaviours beyond in store arrangements. If ordering a product online, a subbed item may actually exceed a shoppers expectations.
Positive word of mouth can lead to replacement items receiving a spike in sales within a local area. Furthermore, social media can have a national impact on brand identities. Customers should be encouraged to enjoy their product substitutions. This could result in new partner sponsorships or funding for major grocery chains if repeated over time.
Customer Experience Strategy
Remember that your customer is your priority. As mentioned above, there are certain non-negotiables when substituting products. Getting this right can lead to increased customer retention and improved grocery profit margin.
The recipe for success is:
- Encouraging shoppers to allow substitutions
- Offering the opportunity to give you specific instructions
- Paying special attention to your substitution policies.
- Gather customer feedback
Once this structure is implemented, it can be repeated and improved upon time after time. Feedback is essential to a positive customer experience strategy and eventual ecommerce business.
– Read more from our latest news and blog around retail technology insights