How to Promote Healthier Shopping Behaviour: Which Are the Most Effective Retail Marketing’ Levers in E-Commerce Grocery

  •  Silvia Bellini    
  •  Simone Aiolfi    
  •  Maria Grazia Cardinali    


The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests people to eat at least five portion of fruits and vegetables a day, but the level of consumption of this category is far from been reached. Considering that the majority of food purchases occurs in grocery context, increasingly in e-commerce channels, understanding how retailers could improve food choice, both in physical and digital stores, is paramount to healthier living. This paper aims to understand which are the most effective retail marketing’ levers in stimulating impulse buying in fruits and vegetables category, therefore in promoting healthier shopping behavior. Since fruit and vegetable is known for its healthy vocation and its role in differentiating and enhancing the perceived image of retailers, this category is the ideal place to host nutritional marketing initiatives. We used a quantitative survey method to explore shoppers’ behaviour in an online setting, focusing on fruit and vegetables’ category. Respondents were exposed to nine marketing stimuli, according to different communication contents (price versus non price). All the data was considered for linear regression analysis. Our results show that the pre-shopping preparation has an effect on purchasing behaviour, limiting its impulsiveness. Furthermore, price levers and communication levers influence the intention to buy impulse in the online channel, with the latter more effective than the other ones. Therefore, as this process takes place in the digital context, marketing efforts need to focus on dimensions that increase the propensity to make impulse purchases online: communicative and price stimuli.

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