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Mobile Has a Different Meaning at Grocery

May 22, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  


The intuitive thinking in retail is that mobile and smart phone applications are harmful to bricks and mortar retail outlets. There is little doubt that widespread use presents a challenge to mass merchants and specialty channels like electronics that are seeing an upswing in so-called scan and scram shopping behavior. In these channels, consumers are price checking and then buying elsewhere, often right on-line. But mobile grocery is a different matter. At grocery, people shop with their phones, not on their phones. This marks a critical difference to the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service community.

A recent column in Advertising Age does a good job of putting mobile grocery into perspective and helps build the value proposition of excellent execution of at-retail marketing and operational activities. At food retailers, apps are being developed as tools to help shoppers find deals and enhance the physical shopping experience, not replace it. The story cites a survey from Omnicom that says 65 percent of shoppers use phones to find in-store promotions. Making shopping lists and locating products are also high priorities.

The story also describes some very sophisticated apps that sync the consumer shopping list with the store layout to help organize the trip. Some apps automatically attach available coupons or promotions on the items. Other apps allow you to scan your items and skip the checkout line altogether.

Grocery is truly innovating the way people shop their stores by accepting mobile as a tool and not a competitor. The sky is the limit for the brand marketing possibilities. The same holds true for the members of NARMS. Consumers having technology at hand shrinks the margin for error at-retail to almost nothing. The immediate gratification factor has to be met by shelf conditions that match the app, or the consumer can quickly find a replacement for the product and eventually for the store. It is something to think about and listen for as you are consulting with your CPG and retail customers.



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