Satisfying Grocery Shoppers’ App-etites

Grocers are experiencing the same surge in mobile shopping that has been affecting the entire retail industry. Yet perishables and consumer packaged goods (CPGs) provide a different set of challenges and opportunities than other sectors. Supermarket trips tend to be more frequent, most customers aren’t showrooming boxes of cereal, and ecommerce has yet to take a significant bite out of brick-and-mortar sales.
Consumers do have certain expectations for mobile offerings, even those from supermarkets, and even if mcommerce isn’t part of the equation. Grocery shoppers who use mobile apps may not be in the majority, but the number that rely on them for meal planning, listbuilding, coupons, product location and loyalty programs is growing.
Most grocery operators are in a state of flux, acknowledging the increasing necessity of a mobile presence, but not always providing the utility and user experience to make it worth a shopper’s while. This report will examine what grocery shoppers are looking for in an app, how a mobile grocery shopper behaves and ways that grocers can meet these needs.

This report covers mainly the followings,  

  • How do grocery shoppers use mobile for research vs. in-store?
  • Why are shopping lists so important for consumers and marketers?
  • Do proximity marketing and personalization make sense for supermarkets?

Grocery shoppers are downloading supermarket apps with increasing regularity as a way to save both time and money, and also to be inspired and informed. A 2011–2013 survey from the National Grocers Association (NGA) and SupermarketGuru shows that in 2013 more than one-third (36.9%) of US primary household shoppers had downloaded a food or beverage app, up more than 235% since 2010.


The figure was slightly lower in a 2013 joint study by shopper marketing agency Match ShopLab and Novartis Consumer Health. Around 20% of the US primary household shoppers they surveyed had downloaded an app specifically from a food retailer.
Not surprisingly, US mobile Wi-Fi users are more likely to use food apps than the general population. According to location-based mobile ad platform JiWire, half of those surveyed in Q3 2013 had downloaded a food or CPG app. Compared with CPG brand apps and food and recipe apps, retailer apps were the most downloaded (32%) and the most used (70%).
DEAL-SEEKING The primary motivation for mobile grocery shoppers is to save money. In a September 2013 survey, The Retail Feedback Group, a consumer insight firm, found that US shoppers were most likely to use smartphones in 2014 for coupons and to see weekly sales. Grocery lists also ranked highly.



Liz Crawford, vice president of strategy and insights at Match ShopLab, explained what consumers want. “The Holy Grail is that people would like to be able to have all of the coupons that they want easily put onto their shopper card, which would be migrated onto the phone.”
The problem is that coupons are still overwhelmingly distributed in print. According to data from NCH Marketing Services published in February 2014, 91.2% of US CPG coupons in 2013 were found in freestanding inserts (FSIs) while less than 2% were digital. Yet considering how small a share digital has, redemption rates are strong in comparison to print: Internet print-at-home (which can include mobile) was 7.1% and paperless was 3.1% vs. 50.8% for FSIs.

Publish Date: October 2016

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