Food retailers take the mobile experience to the next level

Today, mobile is a must in every industry, including food retail. From mobile-enabled websites to engaging mobile apps, retailers must establish mobile connections with their shoppers. And with the rising popularity of online grocery ordering and delivery, a strong mobile presence is more important than ever for retailers to stay ahead of the game.

But connecting with consumers via mobile takes more than simply enabling a website for mobile devices or developing a functional app. With countless websites and apps at consumers’ fingertips, retailers must take their mobile strategies a step further and find a way to stand out among the crowd of other merchants vying for shoppers’ attention and wallet share.

So how are retailers accomplishing this? While some are turning to personalization to deliver targeted and relevant mobile experiences to their customers, others are creating unique mobile experiences to draw shoppers or teaming with brands and other companies to enhance their mobile offerings. Let’s take a look at some of what food retailers are doing in the mobile space.

Mobile innovation in food retail

It is almost impossible to think about retail of any kind and not think about Wal-Mart with it. In the food retail space, the retailer dominates as the largest grocer in the US, and mobile is a major part of its strategy. For example, the Walmart Shopping App changes the experience of the user depending on whether they have the app open at home or inside a store, creates future shopping lists based on scanned paper receipts and helps shoppers in stores with its mobile shopping list feature, the balance reports.

Minnesota-based Coborn’s and New Jersey-based Foodtown teamed with platform Birdzi to focus their mobile strategies around personalization. The platform allows the retailers to deliver personalized savings to their shoppers through their mobile apps and circulars based on preferences, past purchases and location, according to a press release. The approach is a more scientific, data-driven one on the path to mobile innovation in the food retail space.

Bringing brands into the retail mobile strategy

Target takes a bit of a different approach to its mobile strategy, utilizing what AppLovin calls unbundling. Target’s mobile presence includes multiple apps that encompass different parts of the retailer’s business, from its main shopping app to its registry app.

Target’s mobile offerings also include the Cartwheel app, which provides shoppers with deals being offered at their local stores and allows them to add other brands’ coupons to their savings, which are calculated at checkout using a personalized barcode. The app has proven to be popular among shoppers, with more than 23 million downloads and $3 billion in revenue drummed up for the retailer since its launch about three years ago.

The success of Target’s Cartwheel app highlights the important role CPG brands can play in retailers’ mobile strategies. By teaming with the brands they already carry in their stores, retailers can offer consumers a more robust app experience. Like in Cartwheel’s case, in which the retailer is able to offer greater savings to its customers by including brands in its app.

Getting third parties involved in mobile

CPG brands aren’t the only companies retailers are involving in their mobile strategies. Regional grocer Marsh Supermarkets sought a way to give shoppers a unique experience when shopping for wine, so the retailer partnered with wine app Vivino on a pilot program at 66 stores meant to help consumers choose the right bottle of wine for them. The test includes information right on the shelf that incorporates Vivino’s app and Marsh’s wine ratings, according to a press release.

“By bringing the Vivino rating to our customers in stores, we're going to be able to better serve and speak to them about wine right at the shelf, streamlining their purchasing decision process like never before,” Marsh’s Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer David Kuncl said.

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