Daily Insights

The Top 10 Grocery Brands in Digital

By: Sarah Shi | Jun 17, 2020

Multicategory brands continue to dominate the winners’ cohort in the online grocery market in the U.S., but pureplays and regional leaders like Instacart and H-E-B are closing in. The top ten brands in Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Grocery US 2020 develop sophisticated site features to aid online purchase, utilize in-store mobile app features to streamline grocery shopping trips, and tailor grocery brand content across social platforms.

1. Amazon
Digital IQ: 155

Genius brand Amazon leads the Index on Google search in organic visibility across most categories and top- and bottom-of-funnel terms. On its own Prime Now app, the brand offers delivery of both Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh orders with fluid cross-sell features. Additionally, Amazon’s YouTube videos and Super Bowl ads showcase Alexa and contribute to significant view count.

2. Walmart
Digital IQ: 153

Walmart’s digital advances on its site and mobile app are dedicated to onboarding new online grocery customers to show how the service works—an initiative that continues to pay off during the increased demand for contactless pickup and delivery. Furthermore, as Walmart expanded its pickup opportunities to 3,100 locations, it also increased organic visibility against delivery terms (i.e., “grocery delivery service”) last November to support the expansion of its Delivery Unlimited service.

3. Target
Digital IQ: 152

Target enters the Genius class for the first time as it integrated Shipt on its site and mobile app, as well as redesigned its site to cross-sell grocery with other categories. The brand excels in its in-store mobile app features as it promotes voice tech to help shoppers build shopping lists. Additionally, Target has one of the highest rates of interaction per post on Instagram. 

4. Kroger
Digital IQ: 136

Kroger is one of the only traditional grocery stores to earn organic visibility and surface text ads against category keywords on Google. The brand also integrated Instacart delivery and pickup features onto its site and mobile app and began cross-selling proprietary meal kit Home Chef at check-out. Additionally, Kroger has leaned into digital features that encourage repeat shoppers like creating a “regulars” shopping list that is personalized to each shopper based on items they repeatedly purchase. 

5. Walgreens
Digital IQ: 132

Walgreens garners one of the highest mobile site traffic in the Index and is a leader in mobile app usage and downloads. Furthermore, the brand is a leader in organic visibility against category keywords and desktop display ad impressions on Google. Additionally, Walgreens promotes its same-day delivery partnership with Postmates on site with explicit instructions on how the service works.

6. Sam’s Club
Digital IQ: 131

Sam’s Club onboarded its “scan and go” functionality into its main mobile app, which is one of the highest rated and reviewed apps in the Index. Furthermore, in early June 2020, Sam’s Club launched curbside pickup nationwide in response to the increased demand for contactless grocery fulfillment. 

7. Instacart
Digital IQ: 129

Instacart follows closely behind multicategory leaders in paid and organic search for grocery category keywords, often placing text ads above competitors for keywords like “grocery home delivery.” Since March 2019, Instacart’s continued rollout of pickup has contributed to its monthly active user growth of 48%. Furthermore, Instacart recently expanded access to alcohol, which increased the average basket size by 15% and accounted for 10% of sales for grocers offering alcohol purchases through the company’s app.

8. CVS Pharmacy
Digital IQ: 126

Similarly, CVS Pharmacy follows closely behind multicategory leaders in paid and organic search for grocery category keywords, often surfacing FAQs in the search result and boasting free shipping in the text.

9. H-E-B
Digital IQ: 118

H-E-B, a regional leader in Texas, earns high Google search visibility on branded keywords. Last December H-E-B upgraded its mobile app allowing shoppers to place orders for H-E-B Curbside pickup or Home Delivery, “clip” and redeem digital coupons, and browse stores and find products via an enhanced search function. Lastly, H-E-B is one of the only grocery retailers in the Index to sync app content and information with a product’s physical in-store aisle location. 

10. Dollar Tree
Digital IQ: 114

Dollar Tree expands its grocery footprint by transforming its stores to feature a greater number of cooler doors, a larger consumables assortment with private label brands, and adult beverages. Dollar Tree continues to revamp its stores with more perishables and pantry staples in response to an increased demand for fresh fruits and vegetables from customers. Furthermore, the brand has boasted comprehensive product pages and search and navigation features in addition to having one of the Index’s fastest desktop site speeds.