Redmart, Singapore’s leading online grocery service, has improved its performance in the fresh produce category through consumer-led research and technology.

According to Richard Ruddy, Redmart’s VP of retail, market research has shown that fresh produce quality is a major factor for consumers in deciding where to buy groceries, but just 1.5% of Singapore’s population buy fresh produce online.

So to better understand what consumers are looking for when it comes to purchasing fresh produce online, the Redmart team looked to its own customers.

“We spent a lot of time on focus groups, understanding the purchase patterns (of customers) and their emotional response to products,” said Ruddy at the FUTR Asia event in Singapore recently. (For more, read WARC’s report: For online grocer Redmart, consumer insights drive change.)

What it found was that consumer expectations of fresh produce really boil down to three factors: trust, quality and freshness.

Changes made as a result of Redmart’s customer engagement process include fresh produce listings on the online store now indicating the number of days the items will stay fresh for. They also come with a freshness promise to guarantee refunds should the purchased items be less than satisfactory.

At the same time, Redmart’s ‘Fresher Than You Think’ campaign was born of a desire to educate customers and “take away the barriers from purchase” for the fresh department, Ruddy said.

With the fresh produce category leaving little room for error, data is harnessed by the company to optimise its efficiency in the supply chain process, such as attaining a “super accurate” of demand planning.

“We use machine learning. We use artificial intelligence to aggregate our sales patterns, and that means we can get very precise about what we buy,” said Ruddy, adding that the team is aided by data to be able to “buy as close as possible” – so, for example, fish landed at midnight can be processed and in a warehouse by 4am and with the customer by early evening.

Ensuring freshness is not an easy task, as Ruddy admitted. “The food industry is very complex. The fresh food industry is very complex – and fresh food online is very complex.”

Sourced from WARC