Online grocery efforts need to have a plan to deliver emotion as well

In an already challenging industry, online grocery shopping could diminish a grocer’s by eliminating the biggest competitive advantage they have.

Removing the personal interaction from a trip to the grocery store will further homogenize the industry. Grocery stores consistently rate at the top of Bruce Temkin’s NPS charts, and for me, the reasons are pretty clear.  Grocery stores offer a terrific setting to interact and engage with the customer.

When you compare industries on both ends of the NPS spectrum, it seems there are some pretty interesting differences and industry characteristics. I believe the most important element missing between the industries that score well and those who need improvement is emotional engagement.

How emotionally engaged are you with your cable company? How about your wireless company?  Your insurance company???  The lack of humanization makes it difficult to identify with these industries. People typically aren’t as emotionally engaged with their insurance or wireless companies as they are with their favorite grocery store.

The grocery industry is being forced into the digital world, and one of the unintended consequences will be a decrease in H2H (human to human) engagement, which is a crucial element that allows the industry as a whole to build brand identity and brand equity. Stores and the employees that interact with customers to build the brand and the personal connection on a daily basis are a critical component that will be removed.

The only identifying mark that would tie groceries ordered online and/or delivered (and its coming- thanks to Amazon, Uber and the like) to its brand is a flimsy plastic bag that is destined to be discarded or saved for puppy patrol.

I understand the need for grocers to grow online sales, but how does the industry as a whole continue to promote brand identity when they lose the

I hope there are industry leaders spending time developing this strategy, because without customer engagement, groceries are simply consumables that will probably all come from Amazon in the not so distant future, making grocery stores as we know them fond memories.

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