Nearly 80% of consumers in the United States have shopped for groceries online during the pandemic. As someone who has worked in the grocery industry for the past five years, those numbers are astronomical to us. According to SuperMarketNews.com, online grocery sales are projected to grow 40% in 2020. Grocery delivery websites have not always been the most user friendly, they are typically oversaturated with items, even sometimes without an accompanying picture next to said items. There are so many different options for viewing products such as sale items, which can be broken down into vendor sales or weekly sales, buy 2 get 3 free on participating items, etc. all of which can be a bit overwhelming and confusing to someone who isn’t in the grocery industry. I have personally seen my company’s e-commerce site, Safeway, grow from one big headache into a more user-friendly site over the past five years. A few things I have noticed that have transformed our website and userability for the better.
Search feature: Usually grocery shopping means you’re getting a large amount of items and shopping online can be rather time consuming, the importance of the search functionality is imperative in this instance. Searching for an item on Safeway.com brings up a large results page but is nicely broken down into categories on the lefthand side of the page to help further search specifics categories i.e. price, brand. When you search on competitor, Giant’s delivery site, the search results just yield pages and pages of product with no ability to further breakdown your search. Giant’s website makes sense if you know the exact brand and type you’re searching for however, it doesn’t help consumers narrow down their results like Safeway’s.
Giant ‘Butter’ Search
Safeway ‘Butter’ Search
Cross Selling Functionality: This is especially important in the grocery industry, pairing items that would work well in a recipe or meals together. Cross functionality is good with “OMI” (one more item) and basket drivers to help increase sales. Typically, in store, we place our OMIs at checkout or displays throughout the store such as merchandising strawberries with shortcake. Like minded items that often sell together. Safeway has designed themed pages on their e-commerce site, such as ‘Summer Grilling’ in which we highlight numerous categories and their items for that theme. Below is a screenshot of Safeway also implementing recipes throughout their themed pages to also help drive more sales and cross selling.
According to this Enginess article, “there are many principles of design. But when it comes to web and interaction design, Donald Norman provides what may be the best six to abide by.”
- Visibility – functional, easy to use & intuitive
- Feedback – Every action needs a reaction such as a spinning wheel or sound
- Affordance – As soon as someone sees something they must know how to use it
- Mapping – Relationship between control & effect
- Constraints – Limits to an interaction of interface
- Consistency – The same action has to caused the same reaction every single time
I strongly believe my company’s e-commerce site has transformed for the better over the past few years implementing the design principles of Norman, although there are still a few areas to tackle. Clutter is a big one with grocery shopping, it can become so easy to get lost in the pages with multiple directional CTAs that can lead you down a rabbit hole. However, we have come a long way and will only continue to improve especially with the way e-commerce sales are booming during the pandemic.
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