Northfork insights series: Recipe cart versus non-recipe cart value

20 ago 2021

Erik Wallin

Gastrofy, Northfork’s sister business and innovative research and development arm, gleans a vast array of insights through its recipe shopping platform. These range from qualitative insights into customer behaviour to a wider range of data points covering the breadth of the online grocery shopping experience.

Northfork not only uses this knowledge to enhance its recipe shopping solutions, but also shares it with the wider grocery shopping community. As such, we’ve put cart value under the spotlight this week, to discover how recipe shopping impacts average cart value and share thoughts on what’s driving that impact.

Higher cart value

Gastrofy’s work with Coop in Sweden has shown that recipe cart value is 4.8% higher on average than non-recipe cart value. It’s a point of interest to both retailers and publishers who partner with them. To anyone, in fact, who is seeking to drive up how much their consumers spend per grocery shop.

So, why is the cart value so much higher when customers shop by recipe? According to Gastrofy’s Chief Product Officer, Peter Simon, cart value is a product of how easy it is to buy things. He explains:

“The easier you make it to buy things, the more of them people will buy. This is knowledge that retailers around the world use every day to sell more of their products. With online grocery shopping, buying one recipe that contains 20 individual products with a single click is much, much easier than buying 20 individual products.”

Providing customers with the ability to fill their carts with a recipe’s worth of ingredients in a single click or tap also means that the customer won’t forget any of the ingredients – another influential factor when it comes to average cart value.

Product selection

Using Northfork’s recipe shopping technology, retailers can also influence cart value through the default product selection settings that they apply. Northfork enables retailers to use one of four settings as standard:

  • Best value – this will prioritise price, so the consumer is likely to end up with cheaper brands and a higher proportion of frozen items

  • Minimum waste – this usually results in a higher quantity of fresh produce, which tends to come in small portion sizes

  • Organic – this selects organic ingredients wherever possible, meaning that customers usually pay more for their recipes, due to the higher price of organic goods

  • Recommended – this prioritises fresh produce and well-known brands

Northfork gives retailers the option to choose the setting themselves (without the end user ever seeing it) or to allow customers to select their own preferences.

Case study: Coop, Sweden

For Coop in Sweden, which uses Gastrofy to deliver its online recipe shopping functionality, these settings provide some interesting insights into the relationship between shopping by recipe and higher average cart value.

While most shoppers use the default setting for product selection (in this case, ‘recommended’), those who change it are opting in the main for pricier, organic goods. Of those who changed the product selection over the past 90 days (at the time of writing), 42.9% switched to organic as their priority. This will have had a notable impact on their cart values. That compares to 34.1% who opted for best value and 9.89% who opted for minimum waste.

Also interesting is that 13.2% of customers who changed the default setting away from recommended, subsequently changed it back – but that’s a topic for another day!

Is recipe shopping more expensive?

If shopping by recipe produces a higher average cart value than non-recipe shopping, does that mean that shopping by recipe is more expensive? Not according to Gastrofy’s Peter Simon:

“The reverse is actually true. Shopping by recipe means that people tend to make fewer impulse purchases. Our qualitative research has found that many shoppers say they save money when buying by recipe.”

A lower average cart value for non-recipe shopping may simply mean that customers have forgotten some of their ingredients. It’s very easy to add your protein and vegetables to the cart and then forget herbs, spices, oils and so forth. That means the customer ends up having to pop to the shop to purchase the missing item(s) – or eating a recipe that doesn’t taste quite right!

Learnings for retailers

The key takeaway here for retailers is that the higher up in the funnel they put recipe shopping, the higher their average cart value is likely to be. Putting emphasis on recipes can take place at multiple points in the shopping experience. An offer on chicken, for example, could direct shoppers to consider chicken-based recipes. The same with any discounted products.

Using Northfork’s technology, retailers can also analyse shoppers’ purchase receipt data in order to recommend recipes offline to them, providing an additional entry point to the funnel.

Finally, as we said at the outset, making the grocery shopping experience as easy as possible can do much to benefit retailers. Shoppers who can buy with one click are, quite simply, likely to spend more than those who have to click 20 or 30 times in order to achieve the same thing.