Marketing and merchandising: 'Tis the season for (online) holiday season

Christmas presents and ornaments in a grocery basketThe stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that delivery drones soon would be there.


While we may not have reached that level just yet, online shopping is nonetheless becoming an integral part of the holiday shopping experience. Record-breaking online retail sales in November and December of 2015 (as reported by Financial Post and Canadian POS) have shown us just how popular online shopping is and how it has impacted holiday shopping trends.

While online shopping is generally more popular for categories such as clothing, technology and household items, there is a significant online grocery customer base. According to Marketing Magazine, 15% of Canadians reported buying groceries online in the past year.

So, which groceries are most commonly sold online? Generally, consumers prefer to buy produce and meats in-store for immediate use and to ensure freshness. Online, shelf-stable options and pantry staples fare best. Williams Group’s semi-annual Canadian E-tail Report revealed that, of those who purchased groceries online, snacks and sweets (15%) and packaged/canned goods (12%) were the most popular categories.

With this in mind, retailers with online offerings can focus on promoting products in these categories. Peanuts are Canadians’ second favourite snack food and come in a variety of shelf-stable, holiday-appropriate products. Chocolate or yogurt-covered peanuts make the perfect stocking stuffer or gift swap idea, while peanut butter is a pantry must-have for holiday baking.

While produce and meat typically aren’t as popular through online channels, there are some large retailers who are making more of an effort to increase this portion of their business. Some major retailers have even started to train employees specifically dedicated to online shopping, in order to identify the freshest products in-store. This ensures that customers are receiving quality products that they would have picked out themselves. The products are then maintained in climate-controlled zones to fit their needs, from purchase through the delivery process.

While in-store shopping is still the grocery industry’s bread and (peanut) butter, an increasing online customer base is worth catering to this holiday season. How does your marketing and merchandising strategy change during the holiday season? Tweet us at @peanutscanada to discuss.