Grocery Stores Use Mobile to Stay Fresh: How Major Chains Are Leveraging Apps

By the Editors

In an industry that already operates on razor-thin margins, grocery stores are always desperate to find ways to retain customers, increase their visits to stores and make their grocery shopping as relevant and convenient as possible. It’s no surprise, then, in today’s mobile-dependent world, that grocery stores are beginning to compete with each other in the realm of mobile technologies. Understanding how mobile has affected the grocery store industry at large gives us a wider perspective on how mobile research and marketing trends are transforming entire industries.

Here’s a quick overview on how individual players in the grocery story space are tackling mobile.

Safeway’s Just For U. In early summer 2012, Safeway (the nation’s second largest supermarket chain behind Kroger with more than 1,600 stores) launched its Just For U mobile shopping app that can be used to download personalized deals to the store’s rewards cards.

Wegmans Mobile App. Wegmans (another Mid-Atlantic regional chain) recently revamped its mobile app. It allows users to create multiple shopping lists and estimate costs, view Wegmans recipes and have the ingredients added to a shopping list, or even scan bar codes on items in your refrigerator to easily add them to a list. The lists can be tailored to specific store locations in terms of the aisles where the items can be found.

Market research from The NPD Group in its National Eating Trends report reveals that more than 25 million Americans use coupon apps each month. These customers are usually in households with children. Interestingly enough, smartphone users appear to be more loyal to the name brands than the money-saving generic items.

The mobile revolution also offers new opportunities for grocery stores to collect and track consumer data in ways previously unheard of, which can lead to more streamlined decision-making around offers and campaigns. As long as the consumers are receiving tangible benefits, they are getting on board.

Just this small slice of grocery store mobile activity is revealing. Mobile apps are linked to loyalty cards, which allows stores to better understand consumer behavior. Related deals are then pushed those users, making the mobile shopping experience both personalized and relevant. Finally, by integrated all of these aspects with other features such as shopping lists that use geo-location to help shoppers identify an ingredient, it’s easy to see that mobile has the potential to completely transform the shopping experience.

In pushing out deals to mobile-enabled customers and making shopping more convenient, the overriding goal of these grocery chains is to make themselves attractive enough to keep customers from bailing to Target and Walmart. In the end, it’s all about connecting to people where they’re at, which means reaching them through their mobile devices. What is your business doing to become fully mobile-optimized?

If you’re ready to explore a mobile campaign for your business, SSI can help you get started today.