In the highly competitive supermarket race, Morrisons has for some time now lagged behind its main competitors and lost market share to even discount brands such as Aldi and Lidl. Industry experts believe that this is largely due to the chain falling behind competitors in terms of technological initiatives as, while Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda have all offered online ordering, delivery services and click and collect for some time now, it was only at the beginning of this year Morrisons began to offer these options to its customers.
Yet unfortunately, it appears that early pilots of the online scheme have been met with a distinct lack of enthusiasm from consumers – something which, according to shopping behaviour company SBXL, could be to do with the locations Morrisons chose to launch the initiative. The Midlands were chosen as the first region in the UK to offer Morrisons’ customers the opportunity to shop online, but according to SBXL researchers, Midlands customers are the least likely to embrace online technology of all residents of the UK.
In addition, the study found that consumers who choose to shop at Morrisons are less likely to choose online technology over bricks and mortar when it comes to the weekly shop. Only 20 per cent of Morrisons’ customers participating in the study claimed that they would consider switching to online ordering should the opportunity arise, which compares poorly to the 40 per cent answering in this way whose allegiance lies with Tesco or Asda.
Senior insight manager at SBXL, Serena Tippler, believes Morrisons’ pilot scheme would have had more success should management have chosen to launch first in the south of England.
She says; “Nearly half of all shoppers in the south say that they would consider online shopping – much higher than the Midlands and the north.
“By launching in the Midlands, they have focused on the region least likely to do shopping online, which suggests they could have benefited from higher quality research ahead of launch.”
The picture does not look set to improve in the next year either, as only 27 per cent of Morrisons customers foresaw themselves using the internet to order their groceries in the next 12 months. By contrast, almost half of Tesco and Asda shoppers believed that at least one of their weekly shops would be ordered online for either delivery or collection during the same period.
Of course, it could be that Morrisons anticipated this consumer apathy and believed that successfully infiltrating the Midlands online market would give the chain an edge when it comes to fighting back against its rivals. However, with January’s research into the matter seeming bleak at best, it may be time for Morrisons to rethink its strategy soon or else face further loss of market share as customers who do shop online in regions outside the Midlands write the brand off once and for all.
Do you think Morrisons should quickly launch its online services in London or the south east?
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