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Membership, account features are the most in-demand US digital grocery features

Based on our US Digital Grocery Features Benchmark 2022 report, which evaluates 10 digital grocers based on an analysis of 30 different features on their websites, membership and account features are the most important features to consumers.

Multiple ways to save via membership and account perks put this category on top. Free delivery, discounts, and rewards points were among the top 10 most in-demand features across all categories. While account features like live chat and multiple login options were not found to be very important among digital grocery buyers, the savings options here made it the No. 1 category.

Key findings:

  • Free shipping or delivery should be the centerpiece of a digital grocery membership—and order minimums should be competitive with other services.
  • Finding ways to save on digital groceries is paramount to many buyers. Retailers and delivery services should include coupons and rewards offerings regardless of whether they are a part of a premium membership or free loyalty program.

Target offered the most in-demand set of membership and account features. With five of the six features in the category, the retailer scored 91 of 100 points. Kroger and Instacart also offered five of six features, though they were not as in-demand as Target’s offerings.

Free shipping/delivery for members was the No. 1 most in-demand feature, but consumers are likely to also consider the order minimums. Memberships like Walmart+ offer free shipping without order minimums for packaged food and beverage items, but same-day grocery delivery carries a $35 minimum. Amazon Prime members also get free shipping, but same-day grocery delivery through Amazon Fresh requires a minimum between $35 and $50 depending on the region. Target (through Shipt), Kroger, and Instacart also require a $35 minimum to unlock free same-day delivery through their respective membership offerings.

Digital grocers that do not offer free delivery performed the worst in this category. Notably, Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market introduced a chainwide delivery fee late last year, even for Prime members. Legacy grocer H-E-B also charges a delivery fee.

Membership-only discounts and rewards can drive subscriptions, but digital grocers are also putting savings perks outside of the paywall to attract cost-conscious consumers. One such example is Instacart, which is attacking both fronts with its recent savings initiatives. The service has launched a credit-back rewards program for its premium Instacart Express members, but also a “Deals” tab that is open to all shoppers.

The ability to log in and register via Google, Apple, or a social network was the least in-demand feature in this category. Among membership and account features, logging in with a third-party account wasn’t a priority among digital grocery buyers. Digital grocers that want to maintain direct communication with customers via email can consider forgoing third-party login options.

Read the full report.