There has never been a time when connecting with the online community is crucial to keep the industry alive such as now. Shopping habits are changing with the recent events related to the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. The consistent need for groceries and buying essential goods while staying safely home has made online grocery services indispensable, thus bringing the e-grocery industry at forefront.
The MENA online market has the infrastructure to enable further growth in the grocery e-commerce industry, with the increasing internet and social media penetration rates that are being witnessed in 2020 based on the latest State of Social Media Report.
The recent COVID-19 events led to a remarkable increase in user interactions on social media by 38% from 2019 to 2020 on topics related to e-grocery shopping.
Social media represents a prime opportunity for reaching more online shoppers, engaging with customers and further growing your sales revenue. Our team analyzed the performance of 17 players in the e-grocery market in the MENA region from key supermarket brands to emerging online startups. We monitored over 250K social media activity starting from May 29th to June 24th, providing your business with the key strategies and recommended best practices for growing your brand’s online shoppers in just 5 steps.
1- Understand Who Is Involved In the Online Conversation
By uncovering the most active markets, key supermarkets and other emerging e-grocery brands will be able to identify their target audience and develop an understanding of what type of conversations are consumers engaging with the most. In the MENA region, the most active countries are Saudi Arabia and Egypt with a 37% interaction rate, followed by UAE at 13%, which means they are starting to embrace social media as part of their online grocery shopping experience.
2- Benchmark Against Competition
Monitoring and bench-marking your brand against competition on social media allows your business to pinpoint performance gaps, identify best practices as well as areas for improvement. Some grocery brands already have a strong presence on social media that was identified during the monitoring period. Carrefour in Egypt is the most mentioned brand on the monitored social media platforms, followed by Danube in Saudi Arabia and Union Coop in United Arab Emirates. Customers are starting to take their conversations about supermarkets online. This makes feedback and negative reviews more public, so supermarkets need to be quick in addressing social media customer service, because expectations are getting higher this year.
3- Acknowledge That Social Media Will Be The New Customer Service Support
The relationship between shoppers and supermarkets is being redefined. Now there is pressure on supermarkets to find new ways to develop this relationship and build customer loyalty. Social media is the tool that will help build this connection.
When we monitored interactions for a month, findings revealed that 70% of the conversations about supermarket brands were negative while positive feedback was only 30%. People were sharing their online shopping experience, complaining mostly about issues with their orders and payment online.
Online grocery brands need to make sure that negative comments are being heard and that actions are being taken to address them.
4- Recognize Opportunities & Respond Immediately
When it came to positive feedback, 56% of the conversations revolved around discounts and offers. This is not related to the online experience, however it is an opportunity to keep the online shopper interested in your brand. People are more likely to express their frustration, rather than their satisfaction online. Bad experiences cannot be avoided, but there must be a plan to turn them into an opportunity. Through the monitored activities, many users suggested adding payment upon delivery option, enhanced app user interface and over the phone order options as ways to overcome the current online experience obstacles. Customers’ perception is usually shaped by the brand’s agility, and their approach for dealing with different situations.
5- Capture Online Shoppers' Attention & Create a Social Buzz
Given the importance of social media now, e-grocery brands should focus more on showing their shoppers that they care and value their feedback whether it’s negative or positive. Enhancing online shopping experience with what customers are looking for is always a winning strategy. Based on our analysis users appreciated seasonal sales and discounts coming along with free shipping offers from their most used brands. Capturing online shoppers’ attention and responding to their needs can increase your brand’s user generated content leading to a better brand image and a positive social media buzz.
Digital transformation is a crucial strategy in 2020, existing key supermarkets with strong local footprints are digitizing their business models and the new online marketplace startups are emerging more and more in 2020 amid the COVID-19 circumstances. The grocery e-commerce industry should consider the following to ensure an enhanced relationship with their target customers:
- Always connect with your consumers
- Always respond at a fast rate
- Create a team dedicated to social media
- Aim for solid customer support
Now customers are relying more on online services to meet their basic needs. Social media listening is crucial to be able to stay on top, and plan how to be always involved with your customers. We are here to support you and your teams with effective monitoring, listening, and activation tools to help identify the most appropriate strategy to keep your customers satisfied.