As much as 40% of consumers in the UK buy their online groceries on mobile, Criteo has revealed in an investigation into the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) e-commerce industry.

Criteo’s brand solutions managing director, EMEA, Ben Cooper, believes the numbers reflect the efforts made by UK brands to develop a powerful relationship with consumers but encourages retailers to engage with shoppers in new ways in order to maintain “a weekly presence in the baskets of their loyal online customers”.

“Ensuring that both physical and online retail stores are closely aligned, keeping abreast with changing market needs, offering best-in-class customer service, and products that live up to their brand’s promise will give them the advantage,” said Cooper.

UK leads the way

In terms of buying grocery goods online in general, however, Brits are particularly advanced, being top European country at 6.9% of all FMCG purchases made on the web, outpacing France at 5.3% and accounting for a higher rate than the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Spain combined (2.1%, 1.7% and 1.7% respectively). However, IDG predicts the industry is set for a further boom of 68% by 2021.

While the UK market is relatively mature, there are still opportunities to take it further; although approximately a quarter of grocery shoppers have ordered online, the majority of them (75%) are yet to go digital.

Boosting online sales

Criteo’s study revealed insights into the tactics and best practice for both online and physical brands. According to the research, click and collect is behind the growing number of online shoppers, and they still prefer “bricks & clicks” supermarkets over online-only Amazon.

Among tips for online retailers is “product appearance optimisation”, says Criteo; bigger images, close-ups and 360-degree views, as well as informative copy, act in favour for brands.

Criteo’s findings also included the importance of always-on strategy, which enables brands to budget throughout the year. Finally, paid search, retargeting and sponsored products are some of the activities brands should embrace to increase sales.