Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What Will It Take to Make Grocery Mobile Apps Matter?

English: Motorola L71 (China Mobile customised...

According to the holiday shopping survey from distribution software-provider Symphony EYC (formerly Aldata), only 5.6 percent of respondents used their mobile phone to actually buy groceries during the past 12 months. Yet supermarkets continue to launch and tweak their mobile apps.

The just-released mobile app upgrade from Wegmans promises to help more quickly build virtual shopping lists while also helping save money and time.

Among the new features:

  • Past purchases: Through Shoppers Club accounts, past purchases can now be seen, perhaps helping with forgotten shopping list items;
  • Bar code scanner: The mobile device's camera can scan product bar codes right from the pantry or refrigerator and quickly add them to a list;
  • Multiple shopping lists: Separate lists can be created and edited for an upcoming party or when shopping for others. The list can also be emailed to others with notes;
  • Quick recipe access: The app displays recipes from Wegmans Menu magazine with ingredients, instructions, and nutrition information for each. Ingredients can be added to the shopping list with a single tap;
  • Aisle navigation: Shopping lists are organized by aisle according to your store's layout to help avoid backtracking;
  • Cost calculator: The total cost of items on a list is now estimated to help shoppers stay on budget;
  • Shoppers Club access: Cashiers can scan the phone or tablet to capture Shoppers Club information so benefits can acrue to the shopper's loyalty card.

Other original features built into the app include checking store locations and hours, refilling prescriptions, watching cooking videos, reading the latest posts from Wegmans' Fresh Stories blog, browsing recipes, rating and reviewing products and recipes, and checking nutrition information and Wellness Keys for Wegmans brand products and recipes.

Other supermarket apps in the marketplace enable shoppers to scan and self-checkout in aisles, see the store's weekly circular, download coupons, gain meal planning and cooking tips, and track loyalty card points.

At least according to the Symphony EYC survey of 1,000 shoppers, supermarket apps are missing what shoppers wanted most: being able to compare prices with other stores.

Others features ranking high in the survey as far as importance for mobile grocery shopping:

  • Gaining access to coupons or promotions;
  • Receiving personalized offers;
  • Collecting and using loyalty points;
  • Locating specific and complementary products in store, and;
  • Requesting that a product not currently available with that retailer be stocked. 

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