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17 October 2018  /  

What eCommerce Stores Can Learn From Supermarkets


Woolworths. Coles. ALDI. These household names are among the most popular and known supermarkets in Australia. Think about the last time you stepped into these places. Did you have a great shopping experience? Did you end up buying more than you initially planned? And, do you find yourself going back again and again?

No matter how many competitors pop up, these supermarkets continue to dominate the country and our hearts, because they have nailed some tried and tested, successful strategies.

The good news for online businesses is that a lot of those strategies can work as well for eCommerce stores.

Here are five things that eCommerce stores should pay attention to.


Store layout and product placement

Supermarkets put a lot of thought into the overall design and layout of the store. Not only does the store need to look good and spacious, but the departments and shelves have to also be shopper-friendly. If you get lost in a shop every time you need to get something, you probably would not want to go back.

And then there are the products. The best brands and best sellers are often put at places that easily catch the eye – shelves that face the entrance doors, or the middle shelf at eye level. Other lesser known brands are generally placed on the top or bottom shelves, which are not as quick to gain attention.

For eCommerce websites, the overall design and layout of the homepage should be aesthetically pleasing and inviting. But all that beauty will amount to nothing if the website is difficult to navigate and is not user-friendly.

Make use of your category and search result pages. Those are your “shelves”. The prime real estate of an eCommerce store is the top of the category or search results pages. Products that are placed here will be the first to catch the eye, and if you place the right products here, you can increase your conversion rate and sales.



Have you noticed how supermarkets tend to place related products close to each other on shelves? For example, jams are always placed right next to the bread aisle. This is cross-selling. And it works very well.

This is an extremely useful strategy for eCommerce websites. If you have products that are related or that are often bought together, you should create a ‘Frequently Bought Together’ section that shows these products.

Or better yet – create a bundle of the products, with a combined total price (which should of course be a better deal). Feature this bundle in both categories, so that your website visitors can see it easily.


Variety in products and price points

Supermarkets carry a wide range of products in different brands and price. For instance, you won’t find just one brand of ice cream at Coles. There would be at least ten brands of ice cream, all with a variety of flavour available at different price points. This allows consumers to compare between products and make a decision on the spot, instead of having to go to other supermarkets to check out competitors.

Perhaps the types of products you offer on your website do not come in as many brands, but it is always good to make available as wide range as possible, and to have different price levels of products in every category.


Blast out your sales and offers

First of all, it goes without saying that sales and offers are a big part of supermarket strategy. Just look at how often we plan our grocery shopping around the weekly offers at Coles and Woolworths!

But it is not enough to just have sales and offers – you have to blast them out.

Supermarkets send mailouts on their sales and promotions. And when they get you to actually step into their stores, you see their “sale” and offer signs easily and clearly.

Similarly, eCommerce stores should make use of email direct marketing and social media to send out information about sales and promotions. No matter how good your offers are, they won’t get conversions unless people know about them.

And when the consumers visit your website, you should have a “Sale” category or page that can be found easily and clearly.

Each sale item should also be clearly marked, so that your website visitors don’t have to wonder and guess about which products are on sale. Also, supermarkets tend to display the original price, the reduced price and the savings, to help shoppers see the value. It is also not a coincidence that sale stickers are always bright in colour. Keep these points in mind when planning your offers!


Multiple payment options

Supermarkets make it really easy for shoppers to check-out these days. There are multiple payment options – you can pay by cash or card, you can opt for the self-check-out stations, or you can go for the counters managed by a staff. Everything is done to ensure that the sale is closed as smoothly as possible.

This is even more crucial for eCommerce websites, because the check-out is the last frontier, and if the consumer feel that it is not convenient or easy, they can easily close the browser and move to another website.

What about the Don’ts?

Now that we have gone through the strategies that eCommerce websites can and should learn from supermarkets, let’s also take a look at the ones that are not very suitable for online stores.

Don’t: Walk-around store layout

Supermarket stores are designed to bring the shopper around so that you are exposed to as many aisles as possible. Even if you are there for just one item, they make it hard for you to get straight to the checkout.

This might work for shoppers at supermarkets, because when you see and feel certain products, you might decide to buy them.

However, most online customers already know what they are after, and have most likely done their research before visiting your website. As such, you should make it as easy as possible for them to checkout their cart, so that the sale can be made and the conversion sealed.

Don’t: Upsells at checkouts

Similar to the above point, supermarket’s layouts are all designed to get the consumer to spend more, and one of the most powerful places to do so is the supermarket checkout area. This is why you normally find impulse products like candies, chocolates and magazines near the checkout counter.

However, once again, online customers need to be able to complete their shopping easily and conveniently. Having too many “last minute products” show up or pop up when the customer wants to checkout might have an adverse effect – they might just close the browser and move on to another website.

So there you have it, the do’s and don’ts all eCommerce stores can learn from supermarkets. These strategies might help your eCommerce store achieve more sales and better conversions.

If you need more help in this, why not talk to us? Contact us at [email protected] today!