Consumer behaviours are changing rapidly, driven almost entirely by smartphone usage. In the UK, 74% of people use smartphones (up from 51% in 2012) and 65% of all adults access the web using a smartphone as their primary device.

This has driven up expectations of consumers - and if they can’t get what they want, another option is just one tap away.

Online engagement with food brands and retailers has never been as high; food searches are up 6% year on year [Google internal data], with recipe searches on mobile devices up 21% year on year in June. This increased engagement alongside growth in online sales highlights the need for supermarkets and grocers to be thinking hard about the approach they take.

Martijn Bertisen opinion quote

There are plenty of barriers to online grocery: the cost of picking items, the technical challenge of keeping perishable goods fresh, and the last mile delivery conundrum all contributing to the fact that online food sales only account for 5.3 % of the total [ONS/July].

Fulfilment is clearly a significant challenge, with only 10% of European supermarkets offering same-day delivery. New businesses such as Convibo and Etefy offer nuanced solutions to online ordering that promise one-hour delivery, while Tesco has launched its Now app and Sainsbury’s has experimented with its 30-minute ‘click & collect’ at the store via its Chop Chop app.

Seeking the right partners with the right technology to improve the experience and boost conversions is clearly front of mind - we recently announced a partnership with Walmart to bring consumers hundreds of thousands of products that can be bought via your Assistant on Google Home or on the Google Express website or app.

The weekly family shop is now only one of a host of different shopper missions, with consumers moving between online and offline without breaking stride - 75% of consumers who conduct a local search visit a store within 24 hours [Google Trends].

Staying on top of shopper behaviour by collating the right data is vital for planning and shaping your customer proposition. Tracking consumer behaviour across devices and using location data to understand when a consumer has interacted with your brand then purchased in store is becoming more and more widely used in the industry.

Data-derived insights can help retailers adjust their organisational structures, so operations become agile and more responsive to changing trends.

It’s becoming obvious the siloes between online and store trading teams need to come down and they need to work together towards integrated goals.

Martijn Bertisen is UK sales director at Google