The internet has revolutionized nearly every industry, and as technology has continued to advance and make online connectivity even more widespread, mobile technologies have played a significant role in the internet revolution.
Food retailers are no exception when it comes to adopting mobile technologies. To retain current customers and win over new ones, grocery store chains are implementing unique mobile experiences in order to provide convenience, grow brand awareness, and build customer loyalty.
Through a strong design and a complete set of tools, web and mobile apps for grocery stores with on-demand delivery allow food retailers to take full control of the ordering process. Have a quick look at their workflow:
Online grocery shopping: A snapshot of the last decade
Until lately, food and grocery was considered one of the less developed online retail sectors. Comparatively low growth in online spending was associated with the fact that food and grocery purchases are mostly needs-based: there’s usually a certain degree of immediacy involved. Another reason is that for most consumers, going through a grocery store is not only more convenient than shopping for groceries online, but also satisfying.
In the post-2019 world, however, consumers developed new habits. The compound annual growth rate for online grocery sales grew amid the pandemic.
Moreover, 90% of e-grocery customers are planning to continue their e-grocery experience post-pandemic. Why? It’s not only about COVID; it’s also about convenience. Below are six main reasons why consumers are quickly shifting to online shopping:
E-grocery growth is partially possible due to maturing digital natives. The infographic below shows the percentage of Millenial and Gen Z consumers who are using e-commerce options or are willing to start using them.
Why should grocery chains go mobile?
There are many reasons why grocery chains and those in the food retail industry should implement mobile solutions.
Keeping up with competition
Many grocery chains are leveraging the power of mobile technology to keep up with competitors. Modern customers use mobile devices as a means of accessibility as well as convenience. Businesses that can adapt to the changing world and provide seamless shopping experiences through integrating mobile solutions are more likely to convert users into loyal customers.
Enhancing the brand
To promote their brands, grocery chains often apply an omnichannel approach to appeal to all consumer groups, and mobile is becoming a significant part of this approach. By providing tech-savvy shoppers with a mobile, interactive, and high-velocity customer experience, companies increase their chances of creating a lasting effect that amplifies their brand while also resonating with users.
Practice data-driven marketing
Сustomers are more value-driven than price-driven nowadays. Providing them with easy access to product information will increase the chances of customers making a purchase.
A grocery mobile app can give customersthis information while simultaneously collecting analytics to help businesses adapt their offerings to consumer needs. Data-driven marketing will enable grocery chains to monitor and plan product supply based on customer feedback and demand.
Digitalization has drastically transformed the way shopping is done, making it more accessible than ever. By means of mobile sites and apps, businesses give their customers the opportunity to have individual shopping experiences in which each consumer is at the center of their own purchasing scenario. In this way, grocery chains can engage with customers on a personal level, giving them 24/7 access to products and helping them curate their shopping experience.
Build well-crafted loyalty programs
To reward purchasing behavior and increase a customer’s brand loyalty, grocery chains can also turn to the mobile environment to deliver loyalty programs that offer benefits to entice and retain customers.
Gamification of loyalty programs, using the principles of the Endowed Progress Effect, helps retailers leverage the effectiveness of push notifications to alert customers of new rewards or limited-time offers during which spending money can earn them bonus rewards points.
Integrate a mobile app with the in-store experience
Brands can use mobile apps to enhance in-store shopping experiences, making them more efficient and enjoyable for regular customers as well as first-time shoppers. For example, grocery chains can use mobile apps to provide instant, detailed product information or to help customers find specific items within a store. Apps that use location data can also provide alerts for special offers as a buyer walks down the aisle, providing extra value to the shopper while making their shopping experience more pleasant.
Support mobile payments
Various mobile payment systems are available today in different countries and regions. Since many people are moving away from credit cards to perform transactions via apps, a mobile payment system can be easily integrated into an app to help deliver a seamless grocery shopping experience. An integrated mobile payment system adds convenience as well as the ability to serve customers who want to order and purchase items directly through an app instead of in-store.
Get feedback from buyers
To better understand how a grocery chain operates, apps can be used to collect feedback from shoppers. Retailers could enable customers to send requests or provide item reviews that will help them improve their offerings.
Accumulating data directly from customers will allow different store locations to tailor their in-store shopping experiences while helping chains monitor overall demand and supply at a particular store.
Types of mobile apps for grocery stores
Mobile apps are modifying the shopping behavior of consumers when it comes to searching for a product, purchasing it, consuming it, and enjoying the after-sales experience. A variety of apps are available in the grocery store industry that touch on some or all of these aspects.
Shopping list apps
Shopping list apps like OurGroceries are usually popular among families and groups of friends helping users create shopping lists and keep them in sync. This type of grocery app allows users to quickly add items to lists, save lists for future use, share created lists with friends and family, update lists, receive notifications on updates, and receive reminders.
Grocery store delivery app
Grocery delivery apps are virtual grocery stores where users search for products, schedule in advance delivery, shop by recipe, or check through their past purchases. Also, there are delivery apps like Shipt that allow users to hire local shoppers to handpick items from the list. This way is becoming a real trend as shoppers also check if the order includes fresh items.
Grocery rebate apps
Grocery rebate apps allow users to save money on purchases without using coupons. Users need to download the app, check food items listed in the app, and buy the items in the grocery store. As they upload the photo of the receipt, they get paid. Rebate apps like Ibotta allow shoppers to earn cashback on their next purchases, travel, or dining out.
Price comparison apps
Looking for the best grocery prices is now easier with a price comparison app. Apart from quick and convenient price comparisons across stores, these apps also allow users to learn about changes in promotional prices, check out booklets, or see units that are used for measuring the items' cost.
Grocery store chains develop grocery apps that are a combination of all previous applications. Thus, they allow users to locate the nearest stores, make, edit and share grocery lists, compare prices, use discounts, and scan products to get information about ingredients. Some grocery chains even go beyond that by sharing cooking recipes and providing the list of products for the recipe.
Grocery retailers are able to use a combination of these types of mobile apps to help them understand their customers better, while also helping customers have an improved shopping experience.
Current mobile innovations in the food retail space
Some of the world’s largest brands have already begun using mobile tech to innovate how consumers purchase products.
We all know Amazon is a global commerce giant, and it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The launch of Amazon Go is Amazon’s attempt to disrupt the grocery store industry with its new cashier-less way of shopping.
The “Just Walk Out” campaign introduced this new kind of store in which customers can shop and leave,no checkout required. Amazon says it’s the world’s most advanced shopping technology, made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. This technology automatically detects when products are taken from, or returned to, shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When a customer is done shopping, they can just leave the store. Amazon charges their account for the items they’ve walked out with and sends them the receipt.
Amazon recently announced plans to buy Whole Foods, a supermarket chain in the U.S., further working towards their efforts to revolutionize how people shop for groceries.
Walmart is one of the largest food retailers in the U.S. and it has chosen mobile to be a major part of its strategy. @WalmartLabs acts as the company’s separate innovation lab that focuses on technology-enabled shopping.
It's never been this overarching 'turning on a dime' thing. It's been a continual evolution of where we are. Convenience, access, simplicity, and saving money are what customers are looking for, and that's what @WalmartLabs aims to deliver.
— Ojonimi Bako, Director of Innovation for @WalmartLabs
Some of the solutions coming out of @WalmartLabs include various apps focused on various types of users.
The Walmart Shopping App tailors a user’s shopping experience, based on whether the user has the app open at home or inside the store. The app helps shoppers keep track of items they need with its mobile shopping list feature which can create lists using scanned paper receipts.Customers can also use the app to check if the product(s) they want are in stock.
In 2014, Walmart introduced a new program called Savings Catcher within the main Walmart app. Savings Catcher allows users to scan Quick Response (QR) codes directly into the app to compare prices of products, helping the company ensure its lowest-price guarantees for customers.
Search My Store is another feature within the Walmart app that provides turn-by-turn directions to specific items in a store. Walmart became one of the first retailers to geofence all 4,300 of its stores, mapping physical spaces to trigger alerts whenever a user enters a particular store with a mobile device. The feature empowers consumers to find the items they need, without having to seek the assistance of a store associate.
Walmart has also released two other apps, Walmart Grocery and WalmartOne. The Walmart Grocery app is targeted at grocery pickup and delivery. WalmartOne lets employees access schedules, paystubs, and other company information.
Albertsons Just for U App
Albertsons, another American grocery company, offers users the Just for U app. Consumers choose coupons within the app and redeem them at checkout by entering their phone number. The app collects information about a customer’s shopping habits and begins suggesting more personalized coupon choices.
It is always our goal to provide services that make grocery shopping and saving convenient for our customers& As apps have become an increasingly popular and effective way to communicate, we are excited to provide the Just For U app to our Albertsons customers.
- Connie Yates, public affairs and communications at Albertsons
Coborn’s and Foodtown
Minnesota-based Сoborn’s and New Jersey-based Foodtown grocery chains have selected the Birdzi platform to provide personalized shopping experiences and increase customer engagement. Birdzi uses an omnichannel approach and enables the food retailers to target shoppers based on their personal preferences, purchase history, and current location.
With the help of Birdzi’s unique shopper engagement platform we are able to provide shoppers with offers through our mobile app and personalized digital circulars.
— said Patty Youchock, director of advertising and marketing at Allegiance Retail Services, owners of Foodtown.
Kroger has 2,778 stores and is the largest supermarket chain in the U.S. The Kroger Mobile App makes shopping easier, allowing users to download digital coupons, create shopping lists, use the Mobile App barcode scanner to add items directly to their shopping list, view weekly ads, search for products from the app’s home screen, and find items by aisle while shopping in-store.
Kroger’s latest innovation is testing sensor-laden interactive shelves that detect shoppers in the aisles via their smartphones, offering them personal pricing and product suggestions as they walk by.
We want to bring technology to life in the store
— Chris Hjelm, Kroger’s chief information officer
Target, another American supermarket chain, makes effective use of its mobile strategy. The retailer’s app Target Circle gives customers access to everything that Target has to offer from one place.
Customers can plan their shopping runs by checking out offers and item availability all in one place. They can streamline their routine by using the app to locate isles with the help of store maps and to scan item barcodes for prices, reviews and available deals.
The app also offers contactless purchasing options. With the help of Drive Up, shoppers can order their items to be brought right out to their car for free. And with the contactless same-day-delivery service the customers will get all of their items dropped off at their door.
In addition, users can access all of the benefits of the loyalty program in the app and manage the earned bonuses.
The decision to create such an app is a direct result of customer feedback. Customers asked Target to provide them with a simple way to access everything that the retailer has to offer.
Integrating mobile solutions into grocery shopping
Grocery chains are moving to the mobile channel in order to respond to shifting trends in shopping behavior. As more and more people rely on their mobile device, integrating mobile solutions into the way food retailers interact with their customers will allow companies to build innovative strategies aimed at marketing products more effectively and adding convenience to consumers. By making use of mobile apps and mobile-focused sites, grocery chains can apply a more consumer-centric approach to their offerings, while also shape their branding potential and build customer loyalty.
Are you willing to transform the shopping experience for your customers and take advantage of the rise of mobile tech? Get in touch with our team and we will help you build a mobile app or optimize your site for mobile!
To find out more about other innovations in food retail space, follow the links below: