Going mobile

I am always on the go. As a result, the majority of my food shopping is done “on the way home” from work, errands, an appointment, the beach, even a run. I make a habit of keeping reusable bags in my car but it is rare I remember to write a list — and and remember to bring it with me.

The other stay I stumbled upon a Facebook link from one of my favorite food bloggers to the iPhone app OurGroceries. It’s purpose? To save grocery lists. I now have three different lists in there at all times — the supermarket, the pharmacy and other errands. My days of standing in the middle of an aisle racking my brain to remember what it was I needed are over.

This was especially an issue because I don’t always shop at the same store. Trader Joe’s is my default retailer, but they don’t always have the baking goods I need so I often find myself in Stop & Shop. Unless I’m on my way home from work, then it’s Whole Foods, or if I head out of NYC, it’s Wegmans. 

All these stores have iPhone applications: Trader Joe’s lets you browse their product offering; Stop & Shop lets you log into your account to check your savings, browse the sale circular, locate a store and even shop Peapod online. Both the Whole Foods and Wegmans applications offer recipes that you can search by meal or ingredients  — Whole Foods also lets you search by special diets, such as vegetarian or dairy-free — and add the ingredients to the app’s list that you save to your account.

One thing I often discuss with manufacturers is that retailers do not take full advantage of mobile networking. National brands are tailoring their marketing campaigns to target younger generations who are spending more and more time in front of the Food Network and in the kitchen, and this generation of chefs is showing up at the grocery store with their smartphone in hand. Quick Response (QR) codes are popping up in manufacturer ads and coupons are being “pushed” to phones providing retailers with an attentive market for mobile communication. They are not just interested in it  — they are expecting it.

Of all the stores in my area, these are not just my preferences, but also the only ones that have iPhone applications. Knowing I can find a recipe standing in the middle of an aisle and get all the ingredients for it in one shot has a big influence over where I shop.

All retailers need to sign in to the mobile community if they want to compete on equal playing ground. Or they will be logged out by the competition.


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