Grocers Have M-Commerce In the Bag
A three-year research report, “Consumer Perspectives on Grocery Apps and Digital Trust: Retailer Opportunities for Maximizing Differentiation and Success,” by Saint Joseph University and the Food Marketing Institute, concludes that a mobile app can be a big boost for sales and customer engagement. The lessons in the report are particularly interesting because they can be applied to any vertical market.
Mobile apps are great ways for stores to keep track of customer purchases are reward them for loyalty. Many stores have such loyalty programs, which drive revenue. Grocery stores have a unique retail advantage because they offer necessities that require regular purchasing.
The report notes that today’s shoppers are more tech friendly and increasingly mobile than in recent years. Mobile devices are used in myriad ways, from couponing to payment to price checking. Although customers enjoy the convenience of the app, savings are attractive also, according to the research.
Nurturing a regular clientele can increase sales significantly, and the data from loyalty programs can help grocers hone in on what drives traffic into their stores on a personal level. It requires fostering “digital trust.” Digital trust is defined in the report as “the confidence placed in an organization to collect, store, and use the digital information of others in a manner that benefits and protects those to whom the information pertains.” Consumer digital trust is vital for sustained growth in consumer personalization and mobile commerce. Currently, privay is not a major concern for users, according to the research:
Digitally active grocery shoppers are aware and knowledgeable of personal data sharing during app use. They express low concern for negative consequences. Digital sharing is an accepted practice and not a deterrent to use. It is not perceived as a violation of rights, infringement of privacy, misuse, or abuse of personal information. Ubiquitous sharing of personal data on Facebook is considered a norm for many consumers, so the personal data collected by grocery shopping apps is viewed as inconsequential.
A high perceived value of such apps is crucial to success. Many retailers with successful apps have differentiated their apps’ functionality. For example, one grocer offered the ability to pre-order at its deli counter. Another retailer’s app is well received for personalized and easily accessed coupons and savings.
What’s interesting is that the grocery segment — with its notoriously slim margins and “old-fashioned” business model— seems to be producing exciting apps that offer clear reasons for customer engagement. This traditional retailer may be providing excellent examples of building m-commerce success, which can be adopted and executed by any other brick-and-mortar business.
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