Digital sales are the main growth driver for grocery retailers, but customers are frequently unsatisfied with the online shopping experience and adoption remains low. The leading brands in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Grocery use digital tools to ease customer hesitancy along the purchase path, making basket building and reorders a seamless process. Laggards need to move quickly and invest in both basic digital store features like list building as well as owned and partnered delivery—or risk losing digitally savvy customers to Amazon.
Digital IQ: 144
Amazon bags the top spot in this years ranking thanks to a website with product pages chock-full of extensive reviews, ratings and cross-selling opportunities plus unmatchable Prime Now offers on grocery delivery windows and freshness packaging. The e-tail giant is also the most organically visible in the majority of categories studied and has the highest shopping and text ad visibility on Google out of all tracked brands. Amazon has made significant improvements on social media since last year, especially on customer service hub Twitter, and its YouTube videos showcasing Alexa contribute to a significant view count. Finally, the company makes moves on mobile with its Prime Now app, which dynamically cross-sells complementary products on category pages.
Digital IQ: 140
Walmart wins big with the most emails opened in the study and exceptionally high view counts on YouTube. It also scores on mobile this year with an app that reveals live inventory count and in-store location, delivery and pickup options, and a seamless one-page check-out. Finally, the company earns an increasing share of total impressions from CPG brand ad placements on its site and invests in display campaigns promoting fulfillment options that benefit from placement on high-quality sites.
Digital IQ: 139
Target’s My Store functionality on its homepage and category pages display improved omnichannel fulfillment options and drive more customers to stores. On social media, the retailer earns one of the highest Instagram interaction rates and highlights employee stories in promoted posts. Target takes convenience into account on its mobile site, where it caters to order pickup, displaying store and order information prominently in the header, and has seen increased speed since 2017.
Digital IQ: 134
Kroger keeps customers wanting more with a live couponing feature that updates shoppers on their savings. It cross-sells items on product pages that can be added to the cart or shopping list and is one of the only traditional grocery stores to have a comprehensive Google Shopping ad placement strategy, earning visibility against major categories. Most notably, its OptUp app lets shoppers scan items for healthier options and syncs to the main Kroger app for fulfillment.
Digital IQ: 127
A leader on YouTube, HEB collects high impression counts from videos that feature its regional product inventory and collaborations with sports teams. It dominates ownership of search results against branded queries and consistently takes the first position. Additionally, HEB highlights curbside and delivery options with a display homepage banner and tops its mobile app off with recipes that are searchable by preferred product.
6. Sam’s Club
Digital IQ: 125
An entirely mobile-optimized email strategy nabs Sam’s Club impressive open rates as compared to its peers. The grocer promotes private-label products with Sam’s Exclusive badges and boasts the second-highest ownership against branded keyword search. On social media, Sam’s Club features shoppers and their families at stores, generating above-average engagement and maintaining a familiar, home-y feel.
Digital IQ: 124
A winner on YouTube, Walgreens thrives with YouTube content that has the most views out of all tracked brands. The company makes efforts to promoting employee trust and a pleasant store experience. It doesn’t slack off on digital either, producing the highest review count on its iOS mobile app.
Digital IQ: 119
CVS slots a significant number of display impressions and appears on many high-quality sites. Additionally, the grocery-pharmacy defends its visibility with the highest-ranked Google text ads against branded keywords.
8. Whole Foods
Digital IQ: 119
Whole Foods flourishes with a well-rounded website that connects to Prime Now for fulfillment and caters to health trends, featuring extensive information and functionality on its category pages. Though Amazon took its time to align with Whole Foods, loyalty rewards and ordering are now seamless in major cities in-store and online — making Whole Foods the biggest year-over-year winner in the index.
Digital IQ: 113
High-ranking text ads boost Publix’s visibility against food terms, and a nurturing attitude keeps the company on top of social too. By consistently reposting fan photos, Publix packs a powerful punch on Instagram with high engagement and interaction. Similarly, the brand fosters its Facebook following by consistently responding to users.