Richer online grocery carts | Food Dive


The last three months feels like a lifetime in online grocery. At the beginning of the year, 26% of Americans were using online grocery weekly1. Since then, COVID-19 has applied differential pressure to the industry, as consumers flocked to brick and mortar for pantry staples and waded into online grocery at an unprecedented rate. 42% of Americans are now using online grocery at least once a week2. Given the state of grocery, how can brand leaders be more helpful in a time when consumers are actively seeking meal inspiration and food utility? Making content shoppable online is a key way to add horsepower to digital media and directly translate it into sales. We want to highlight five key Add to Cart best practices that can assist.

  1. Every impression should have a path to cart
  2. It needs to feel like help to the consumer
  3. Own the Digital Shelf
  4. Every store is different, your shelf needs to be too
  5. Listen and learn from the data

A path to cart

Making digital ads shoppable compresses the cycle between brand awareness and purchase; they create a direct and efficient path to cart during that brief aperture. Add to Cart applied to any piece of media on any device, at any time, allows you to meet your consumers where they are.

Over 50% of in-store grocery shoppers actively consider new or alternative brands. That drops to 23% in online grocery due to the lack of physical brand exposure3. But the advantages that are natural in store can be re-imagined online: creative media paired with a smooth path to cart re-builds that discovery and impulse opportunity. Impressions may win the battle, but alone they can’t win the war.

Feel like help

Shoppable content can bring additional utility to impressions, but a high emphasis should be put on removing as much friction as possible. Help them save time and money: make it easy to see where you can locally purchase, if it’s on sale, and allow them to commit then and there. Bring them helpful inspiration that doesn’t feel like an ad—a full surround Thanksgiving meal, a unique and exotic smoothie recipe, or even a 5 year old’s birthday party complete with cake, food, napkins and decorations—all available in their cart immediately or conceivably at the doorstep within hours. Help them. Don’t under-estimate the importance of a brutally simple and smooth user experience paired with helpful content.

Own the Digital Shelf

Tremendous effort and money goes into category management and massaging the physical shelf. The Digital Shelf allows you to turn the tables; brands can take more control of the shelf, and then present it to the consumer. You get to dictate what brands get boosted and buried before it lands in the cart, while maximizing your brand and shopper investments.

Every store is different, ensure your shelf is

The vast majority of online grocery is fulfilled by 13,000+ stores, each with unique inventory and pricing4. Product selection and carting can be a challenge due to the complexity. Leading the consumer to a store that doesn’t carry the product is not white glove service and it’s a waste of your investment. What are the local retailers that offer the product? Is it in stock? What’s the price? Is it on sale? These are all questions the consumer will ask, and making them do the footwork only increases checkout abandonment.

Add to Cart can do the footwork for them, but retailer selection, high fidelity local distribution, availability, and pricing are key to making a smooth carting experience.

Listen and learn from the data

Measuring the entire funnel; from initial impression to cart to checkout, can help you wring more out of your media. Online carting gives CPGs information never previously accessible. It shines a light on who saw your ads, who added them to cart, which solutions were most helpful, what creative was more efficient, what else fell into the basket, the retailers who received the sale, and the timing. Capturing the intent and building audiences from the first party data you unlock can be a competitive advantage and keep you two steps ahead.

Smarter shoppable solutions

Making your content efficiently shoppable is a critical method to reaching a growing contingent of online grocery shoppers. These five best practices for Add to Cart are an easy set of guardrails to guide you on the digital grocery road ahead.


  1. Basketful December 2019 National Survey of Smart Phone using Grocery Shoppers
  2. RBC Research Survey, April 2020
  3. GlobalData Consumer Survey, Feb 2018
  4. Basketful April 2020 Online Grocery Store Coverage Analysis



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