Grocery suppliers need to upskill to capitalise on developing online opportunities, according to marketing consultant Bridgethorne.

A recent report suggesting one in seven Britons are doing all of their food shopping online could have major implications for the UK’s grocery suppliers and manufacturers wanting to capitalise on this sales growth opportunity, said Bridgethorne.

“Manufacturers need to upskill their sales, category and marketing teams to ensure they are well equipped to capitalise on this developing online opportunity.”

The comments follow the publication of a Mintel report, which suggested the proportion of households doing all of their grocery shopping online has doubled since 2014.

Nick Kirby, e-commerce director at Bridgethorne, said: “Grocery manufacturers and suppliers will need to look hard at their trade investment and marketing budgets to ensure that they have a balance in spend across all channels and that they are investing substantially enough to engage and attract new shoppers and convert them to purchase where they are conducting their shopping.”

With a rise in the number of grocery shoppers only engaging with brands when conducting an online shop, it is becoming even more important to optimise digital shelf activation and amplify online communication using the right messages at the right point of the online shopper journey, he added.

“With shoppers switching between channels - for example, supermarkets to discounters - to complement their online purchasing, it is essential that manufacturers have winning channel strategies in place that are both effective in their own right, as well as allowing for a seamless ‘omni-channel’ shopping experience.”

He added that bricks-and-mortar stores could also benefit though: “Up to 70% of in-store sales are influenced by an online retailer search - the so-called ‘e-commerce halo effect’.

“FMCG suppliers need to address their online strategy, because it influences the shopping experience across all channels, not just online.”