As if e-commerce hasn’t made shopping easy enough, it now turns out half of us would be happy to let a stranger walk in and stock our fridges while we’re out

The signs, according to research for e-commerce firm Salmon, show that online marketing has made huge advances in winning the trust of customers.

Its Future Shopper study questioned people in the UK and the US on their online shopping habits and attitudes. It found that “nearly half (49 per cent) of UK and US consumers would be happy for someone to deliver and stock their fridges with groceries while they’re out”.

Now that’s an impactful statistic, which could potentially provide big brands with tangible insight into what their customers want, and where their business should go.

The answer is clear – convenience is king. Customers want free delivery (54 per cent) and a substantial chunk want it within 24 hours (43 per cent). That’s not fast enough for 22 per cent of them, who want it within 12 hours. See? Easy life!

Waitrose & Partners is ahead of the curve with this, launching its version of the service a fortnight ago.

CHILLED SAUVIGNON BLANC

To sign up, you’ve got to have a smart lock on your front door. You place your order, a one-time-use passcode is issued to the driver, who feeds it into the lock, puts on his protective overshoes and waltzes to the kitchen with your goods. The code is deleted as soon as the delivery is made, your carpets are clean, and your sauv blanc is nicely chilled for you when you get home.

It will be interesting to see the uptake of this service and whether other supermarkets follow suit.

Making sure what you’ve bought can be delivered even when you’re not there seems like the next logical step – but the statistics show how far levels of trust in online retailers have grown if we’re willing to literally open our homes to them while we’re away.

The wariness that accompanied each of those early online purchases has been eroded by the convenience that has been underlined by online marketing, which also sold us on value thanks to lower online prices

E-commerce continues to grow with more and more consumers considering online shopping a natural, easy progression from the high street. For consumers who shop online at least once a month in the UK, they spend 43 per cent of their total outlay online and 75 per cent say their use of digital shopping channels will increase in the future, according to the study.

Solve everyday problems

Some brands and retailers who have made the biggest strides in e-commerce are the ones who have solved basic, everyday problems, like grocery stores. No time to do a big weekly shop? No problem. Need to restock basic necessities around the house? Buy online. Don’t have access to a car for that massive shop? Have it delivered to your door instead.  

It’s no wonder digital retailers like Amazon ventured into supermarket territory – offering convenience to its consumers, with groceries available at the click of a button.

And while Amazon has made much play of its deliveries by drone, it’s ironic that a supermarket chain – Waitrose & Partners – may just have stolen the march on the online giants with its open-door policy.

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