Supermarkets may yield higher sales if they invest in digital connections with consumers, according to a new report.

Published by Barrington, Ill.-based Brick Meets Click, “Six Degrees of Digital Connection: Growing Grocery Sales in an Omnichannel World” . looks at the business case for investment in digital connections with shoppers.

In the past, newspaper delivery of store circulars could reach 70%, 80% or even 90% of a supermarket’s customer base, but shrinking circulation has diminished the effectiveness of mass media, according to a news release.

Reports makes case for digital connections with consumers“The question many food retailers are asking is this: If I invest in digital connections with shoppers, will that increase shopper engagement and spending in the store?” Bill Bishop, chief architect of Brick Meets Click, said in the release. “We found strong evidence that the answer is yes.”

Steve Bishop, managing director of Brick Meets Click, said in the release that more than 22,000 shoppers from six U.S. retail banners participated in the study.

An analysis of shopper surveys show a strong relationship between the number of digital connections and whether a customer is likely to be a primary shopper (who does a majority of grocery spending with that retailer). Digital connections include e-mail, websites, texting, social networks, mobile and online shopping.

The research found that 61% of shoppers with one digital connection were primary shoppers, while 80% of shoppers with six digital connections were primary shoppers.

What’s more, the study found that consumers with more digital connections generally had more satisfaction shopping.

Shoppers with six digital connections were more than three times as likely to recommend the store to others compared to those with only one digital connection, according to the release.

“While the results don’t establish direct cause and effect yet,” Bishop said in the release, “the relationships are striking enough to suggest that building digital connections can help grow primary shoppers, and that increasing digital connections can drive up satisfaction with shopping the store.”

Among the findings in the study:


  • Print supermarket circulars are used regularly by 70% of shoppers, but 37% regularly look at the digital circular;
  • 71% of shoppers received e-mails from retailers. The best performing banner reached 92% while the lowest performer reached only 33% of their shoppers;
  • 27% of shoppers have “liked” their store’s Facebook page;
  • 79% of shoppers found text messages from their food retailer relevant;
  • 11% of shoppers regularly buy some grocery products online; and
  • online grocery shopping could claim as much as 17% of total grocery spending by 2023.