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The Australian Online Shopper

No doubt many Australians over the age of 40 will recall their parents rushing down to the local supermarket to do grocery shopping on a Saturday morning because the stores closed at midday.

If it wasn’t Saturday morning it was Thursday night.

And who can forget the groceries being lugged home in brown paper bags with no handles.

For me personally I have very clear memories of our local Coles, especially the cake aisle where I would be treated with little jam roll overs for being a “good shopper” with my Mum.

It’s strange to have such vivid childhood memories of a grocery store and the shopping habits of my parents but it might also explain why I have never fully adopted online shopping.

I have probably been conditioned to grocery shopping being a rushed, chaotic “got to get to the store” and “bust myself carrying all of those bags” experience. Where I love the sensory effect of all of those products and the choice.

Or I am just way too disorganised!

Watch Me Think has just launched its latest edition in the Shopper behind the Headlines series: Australian Online Shopping.

In this title we take a look at

  • online shopping habits in Australia,
  • the process consumers undergo including
    • planning to conduct their online shopping,
    • promotion effectiveness and
    • the importance of delivery and service.


From our observations the one point that became very clear was that the Aussie online shopper is a well-planned, even strategic shopper.

Their ability to organise shopping lists online as they run out of items in the kitchen was nothing short of inspirational.

(I am sure most of us are flat out just writing items on the kitchen notice board as they run out).  

Extremely organised, the online shopper sticks to a shopping list and values being able to watch their expenditure as they add to their basket of products, knowing they won’t get a shock when they get to the check out.  

They appreciate not being tempted by aisles and the impulsive shopping which can occur in store as you move from category to category. The online shopper believes this form of shopping behaviour creates efficiency for them on many levels from time to budget.

Some felt it gave them the opportunity to actually shop with their partner – once the kids were in bed and the dishes were washed up.

One of the essential elements of making online shopping work for these thinkers is a retailer who offers delivery times close to their desired time.

This offering is HUGE in terms of keeping these shoppers. They want to know if they place their order today they can receive it tomorrow; no point telling them it will be in 2 days, as this will just drive them to a competitor. The power of the delivery slot drives fierce loyalty, after all these organised shoppers know when they want their goods.

It would be natural to think it’s hard to sell these online Thinkers any deals, but they know their specials and they are responsive to all forms of communication – be it a catalogue, e-mail or a pop up on screen.  

Our Australian Online Thinkers consider specials to be easier to find online than in store, as you don’t have to go up and down aisles to look for them. Instead they are sitting right at your fingertips.  

Regular Online shopping lists which note previous orders help with efficiency and reminders of “left off the list” items at the checkout all work.

As for new products grabbing the attention of these Thinkers, funnily enough New Product tags do the trick. Some of our online thinkers even demonstrated new products they had bought online having not sighted them in store or were even aware of their launch.

One of the biggest advantages of online shopping is of course the fact it takes away the physicality of getting groceries from store to kitchen bench.

Large grocery shopping requires quite a level of exercise by the time you get groceries from the trolley to the car, into the car, out of the car and into the house! Why not take advantage of what is essentially old fashioned service in a self-service world.

For many of our Thinkers this whole experience is enhanced when a friendly delivery driver is involved.

It does seem like there could be opportunity to capitalise on this delivery service with provision and promotion of more bulk offerings.  If it’s logistically possible the introduction of Food Service (FS) style products (think bulk tubs of yoghurt or 10kg packs of rice) gives manufacturers and brands another channel for their FS range or the development of larger pack sizes in their retail range.  

This plays into the hands of the organised and strategic online shopper as well as potentially capturing new cost driven shoppers seeking bargains in stores like Costco and Aldi. An offering which could have broad appeal.

As for me, well… while I feel motivated by these Australian Thinkers who have shared their online experiences and their ability to be so organised, I fear it will never be a habit I fully adopt as online shopping is just not chaotic enough! 🙂


For more information on our People Behind the Headlines and Consumer Led Trend Series, or ways in which we can help you get closer to your consumers, please contact us.