While mobile phones are a big piece of the overall app tapestry, consumers are also adopting use of various other mobile applications to enhance the retail shopping experience. All with the intent of becoming “un-tethered shoppers.”
The use of mobile apps for brick-and-mortar shopping is ramping up dramatically—41% usage in 2014 from 21% in 2013, with price checking (36%) serving as the primary task, according to Bill Bishop, chief architect for Barrington, Ill.-based Brick Meets Click. Couponing and rebates are also on consumers’ radar.
“Mobile apps transcend just the mobile phone, and are also comprised of devices where you can shop, scan and bag products for quick processing with no constraints,” said Bishop during a videocast titled “Capturing the Benefits of Mobile Grocery Shopping.”
As consumers look for value with mobile apps to research products, read reviews, receive coupons and manage shopping lists, Bishop implored “retailers and suppliers to take action now” and capitalize on the opportunity. While 59% of shoppers prefer to use their own devices for these tasks, 41% are also likely to use a retailer’s device, said Bishop. Even though shrink is a potential problem, Bishop is “amazed that more retailers have not moved to some type of self scan.”
Consumers are encouraged by the fact that digital coupons “are getting easier to use,” which in turn should help drive adoption, said Bishop. The use of digital coupons in the grocery sphere is growing, with 55% of these users being mothers, and the highest sales growth among CPG players coming from Dr Pepper (24%), Slim Jim (18%), Lays and Reese’s (14%).
Consumers conduct their business across several platforms, including text, Internet, voice/video, email, SND and video platforms. “In the future, the smartphone is going to become more of a personal shopping assistant,” said Bishop, citing the capture of coupons or discounted offers as key reasons to incentivize consumer engagement.
Detailing the growing sophistication and power of digital coupons, Bishop cited a partnership between Koupon Media, a cloud-based mobile coupon offer management provider, and SwiftIQ, a startup organization that analyzes POS data in supermarkets and c-stores. These two partners are “pushing the whole application of coupons to a new level,” Bishop said.
In the collaboration, the partners established a set of analytics to manage every transaction in every store over two years. The data flowed into the coupon creation process. “Koupon Media knows what’s occurring while SwiftIQ takes the POS data and closes the loop,” said Bishop.
With mobile coupons, Bishop said that content developed is actually as important as the coupons themselves, and he encouraged stakeholders to “define your total value proposition.” For example, retailers can differentiate by making their content as “strong, rich and engaging as possible,” said Bishop.
He also cited the efforts by mobile services platforms such as ibotta and iBeacons, which dabble in rebate and loyalty mobile services. In working with iBeacons, Hillshire Farm executed a promotion and garnered a 20% increase in purchase intent, said Bishop. (iBeacon was described by Apple as “a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 or 8 devices of their presence.”)