Food Forum: The mobile lifestyle

New technologies will allow retailers to satisfy shoppers’ appetite for apps—inside the store and beyond.

Giovanni-DeMeoBy Giovanni DeMeo

At any time there are nearly 500 online conversations every minute about mobile lifestyle—that is more than 256 million conversations in one year. That statistic from Verizon Wireless is indicative that people are looking for more than just an app that provides discounts. The effort for retailers and brands to provide just the right app is evolving beyond e-coupons to a more intuitive and ingrained part of shoppers’ lives. A mobile lifestyle is all encompassing. It is a culmination of information from smartphone activity, online searches, Bluetooth technology, wifi, near field communication, shopper data, browsing history and much more in order to make lives easier and provide a value that did not exist before.

Within 12 months there will be a huge spike in new technologies that will engage shoppers through mobile devices. By creating their own branded mobile solutions, retailers and CPGs can take control of the consumer experience, satisfying shoppers’ cravings for on-the-go connections while simultaneously driving in-store traffic, growth and loyalty.
However, this is not a simple case of “if you build it, they will come.” Shoppers might download a retailer or CPG app at first just because “it’s there,” but if they do not see clear benefits, they will not use it. Fortunately, consumers are clear on what they want from retail apps. According to a survey by Compuware, a technology performance company, shoppers are looking for mobile solutions that make their lives easier and save them money—for example, providing instant access to product and store information, assisting in planning and navigating store trips and delivering personalized content, including offers and rewards based on shoppers’ unique interests.

Crowdsourcing

Imagine waiting at the doctor’s office. You pull out your phone, use an app to pick out the ingredients you need to make dinner, and when you get home a couple of hours later a personal shopper meets you at your door with the groceries you just ordered. This type of app is ripe for retailer-specific optimization, allowing shoppers to order their favorite grocery items and brands from their preferred stores with the click of a button—all the while driving brand growth and loyalty.

In-store location features

In-store location technology builds on the popularity of outdoor mapping and GPS. For example, Midwest retailer Meijer recently developed a new app that provides detailed interior maps of select stores and features a product locator that allows users to instantly find the location of any one of the over 300,000 items the retailer offers in its supercenters. These in-store location features interface with a built-in customizable shopping list and mobile ad circular, allowing shoppers to map out the most efficient route to take to fulfill their list and/or instantly locate sale items. In a study by Point Inside, a mobile app software company, shoppers who had access to a version of an app with this type of in-store technology used it five times as often as shoppers who had a version without the technology. The study also found that this additional use led to more shopping trips at the retailer and an increased basket spend during each tip.

Mobile shopping incentives

Mobile incentives are the cornerstone of precision retailing today. For CPGs, such offers may be made, for example, through a recipe app that provides e-coupons for select brand ingredients. The coupon can be instantly added to customer-provided retail loyalty cards and redeemed before the shopper leaves the store. For retailers, incentives can be tied to an app that is linked to a shopper’s loyalty card to offer personalized deals based on previous and predicted shopping behavior. Such promotions encourage shoppers to travel further into stores and increase shopper spending, according to a recent study published by the American Marketing Association.

Well-designed and well-executed mobile solutions help extend the consumer experience both pre- and post-shopping, inside the store’s four walls and beyond. Progressive retailers will bridge the virtual and physical retail worlds—serving as a critical piece of the omni-channel puzzle many are striving to assemble. Those who choose to take mobile technology steps beyond simple offers and discounts and become an essential part of shoppers’ lives will be able to embrace this wave of the revolution and leverage not only the mobile boom, but the future of shopping, and life as a whole.

Giovanni DeMeo is vice president of global marketing and analytics at Interactions. For more information, visit www.interactionsmarketing.com.

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