Canstar Blue’s inaugural review of online grocery shopping found Aussie Farmers Direct to be rated highest for fresh food customer satisfaction, beating supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.
Value for money and customer service were found to be the greatest drivers of customer satisfaction when consumers buy their groceries online, and Aussie Farmers Direct scored top marks on both counts. So what’s behind the company’s success? To find out, we asked Group GM Communications, Jim Cooper.
Q) Consumers could be forgiven for thinking that buying perishable foods online means the produce will be older than what they could buy from a supermarket. What is the difference between the fruits and vegetables you sell and what people buy in supermarkets?
A) They could think this, but the opposite is actually true. The beauty of Aussie Farmers Direct is it’s exactly that – fresh and direct produce from Aussie farms to your doorstep. The thing we’re especially proud of, and one of the key reasons customers join us, is that we’re committed to treating our farmers fairly and with respect, and ensuring they get a fair price for the produce they grow. Many people worry about the regular stories they read where supermarkets bully their suppliers and squeeze them on price. Aussie Farmers Direct gives people a chance to shop differently and support Aussie farmers and growers.
Q) Our research found that consumers demand value for money when they buy groceries online, but good customer service is also a major driver of customer satisfaction. What sort of customer service can your customers expect and why do you think you’ve rated highly in this area?
A) In our experience customers equate value for money with superb fresh quality, real convenience and genuine local service. This is what Aussie Farmers Direct offers. Supermarkets are obsessed with price, often at the cost of poor quality, bland homogenous taste, poor service, and questionable treatment of farmers and suppliers. Supermarkets have very large marketing budgets to convince you otherwise, but when 80% of garlic is imported to Australian supermarkets, and 80% of it from China solely to reduce price (and there are lots of examples like this), you have to wonder whether this is good for customers or the country.
Q) One in five survey respondents told us they do all of their grocery shopping online. However, 42% expect to do all of it this way in the future. What is your prediction regarding the growth of online grocery shopping?
A) Online grocery growth in Australia has been outstripping bricks-and-mortar for a number of years, though it is still a relatively small percentage of overall grocery sales. However, we still lag many countries in online grocery take-up, so we think there will be very strong growth for a number of years yet.