In a new document, titled ‘Unavailable online – addressing the grocery sector’s invisible problem’, the company claimed that this was usually due to suppliers not checking their ‘digital shelf’ via desktop, tablet or mobile. Auditing and checking by suppliers of their online presence should become commonplace, urged Bridgethorne.
The document set out how suppliers could put themselves in a better position to capitalise on the growth potential of e-commerce.
Strong e-commerce strategy
It highlighted the need for suppliers to develop and implement a strong e-commerce strategy to capitalise on the opportunity, or risk challenger brands – including those presently online only – taking market share by stealth.
“We know that online is a faster growing channel for grocery than even the discounters, which may make it seem all the more surprising that so many suppliers are still failing to address even basic online requirements that will enable shoppers to find and buy their products,” said Nick Kirby, e-commerce director at Bridgethorne.
“In part, products may be invisible because the supplier doesn’t actually know they have a problem, which may be attributed to them not replicating online what they do offline, in-store, as a matter of course,” he explained.
‘Unaware of the problem’
“Too many suppliers fail to check what is happening with their products online in the way they would in-store. And because they’re not looking at it, they don’t realise there’s a problem and, therefore, don’t invest in putting things right.”
Kirby added, though, that there was perhaps an even greater requirement to create broader behavioural change in approaches to online, involving elevating the importance of online as a channel within the thinking of suppliers’ senior management teams.