The consumer does his shopping more and more on line. In 2011 the turnover of online shopping in the Netherlands amounted to a massive 9 billion Euro. This was mainly for the product groups of travel, telecommunication and clothing. But what about online buying of fruit and vegetables? The Productschap Tuinbouw investigated this amongst Dutch, German and English consumers.
Increase expected in online sales fruit and vegetables.
Online buying of fruit and vegetables only plays a minor role in the Netherlands and Germany, whilst in the United Kingdom this is already done by 14 percent of consumers.
There is, however, a lot of movement visible in this manner of selling. There are more suppliers of online fresh fruit and vegetables in the Netherlands all the time. Albert Heijn recently announced it would start shortly with online selling of daily shopping and collection points. This will strengthen the interest of consumers for online buying of fruit and vegetables.
The British consumers are currently the most positive about buying fresh fruit and vegetables via the internet. The online purchases in the United Kingdom are mainly done via Tesco, followed by Asda and Sainsbury’s. Also Ocado (a specialist online supermarket) and Abel and Cole (online specialist organic foodstuff) are also significant.
What can one learn from the online sales in the UK? The present British buyers say when buying via the internet they want to know the ‘best before date’, the country of origin and the nutritional value.
Knowing this the Dutch and German online suppliers can incorporate such information as they make a start.
Both advantages and disadvantages
The advantage of buying fresh fruit and vegetables via the internet is the convenience, and the speed.
The most important disadvantages are not to be able to see, feel and smell the product, no quality control and no immediate availability. German and British consumers react more positively to a Drive-Inn concept (order online and collect at a Drive-Inn location) then the Dutch. But also in the Netherlands 43% of consumers are interested in such a system for fresh fruit and vegetables.
Following consumer wishes to view products before purchase various consumers came up with the idea of a webcam showing the vegetables. Another idea is to have delivery in the evenings or to work with guaranteed delivery times. It would be good to offer products in coolboxes and to guarantee good quality. A return guarantee for insufficient quality is another wish. Also consumers are interested in easy reachable points of collection, e.g. along busy highways and/or close to railway stations. If the reactions to these wishes are done properly online sales may develop quickly.