Here's How to Make Grocers' Apps Appeal More to Shoppers

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Here's How to Make Grocers' Apps Appeal More to Shoppers

By Randy Hofbauer - 11/30/2017

Although some grocers continue to add bells and whistles to their own mobile apps, consumers generally use them for three basic reasons: reward points and coupons, price checks and in-store guidance. But new research from Progressive Grocer suggests that consumers are desiring more functionality and innovation in this area.

A survey developed by PG and fielded among 2,000 smartphone users by Fayetteville, Ark.-based market researcher Field Agent found that along with their desires for grocer-owned apps, smartphone users especially want personalization: Nearly six in 10 (58 percent) want apps to let them choose reward types; three in 10 (32 percent) want games for winning points and/or rewards; and roughly the same number (30 percent) want personalized offers delivered to them when entering departments or aisles.

Looking at what they want added to grocers' apps, the survey made it clear that men and women typically use them for different reasons. For instance, women are interested in rewards, with 62 percent (versus 50 percent of men) wanting to choose reward types, and 35 percent (versus 25 percent of men) wanting games to win points redeemable for discounts and prizes.

Men, meanwhile, are more interested in increased connectivity in the store: Some 38 percent want to scan and pay for products as they shop, 24 percent want to scan products for more info, and 13 percent want to interact in real time with store associates.

But just as men and women differ here, so do Millennials and older generations. For instance, Millennials desire apps to warn them if a product they scan with their phone contains potential allergens. This corresponds with the fact that Millennials have grown up with an increasing prevalence of food allergies.

Further, as a generation that grew up playing video games – and often still does so – Millennials are more likely to want gamification in grocers’ app, such as games that let them win points and/or rewards (36 percent, versus 29 percent Gen X and 24 percent Boomers), as well as ones that entertain kids while shopping (7 percent, verus 3 percent Gen X and 1 percent Boomers). The latter stat corresponds with the rising number of Millennial parents – in fact, Millennial women accounted for 82 percent of U.S. births in 2015, according to Pew Research Center.

The research also pulled some interesting takeaways regarding how different demographics currently use these apps, noting that:

  • Among users, people would rather order groceries for click-and-collect (20 percent) than for delivery (9 percent)
  • Women plan ahead: 42 percent (versus 38 percent of men) use apps to check product prices before shopping
  • Men make plans in-store: 43 percent (versus 28 percent of women) use apps to check prices while shopping, and 30 percent (versus 26 percent of women) to locate products in-store
  • About one in five Millennials uses Amazon’s app to purchase groceries, double the number of Boomers who do the same
  • About one in five Millennials uses grocers’ apps as mobile wallets at register, double the number of Boomers (one in 10) who do the same

About the Author

Randy Hofbauer

Randy Hofbauer

Randy Hofbauer is the former digital and technology editor of Progressive Grocer. He has more than a decade of experience as a content strategist, researcher and marketer, almost all of it covering CPG retailing. His insights and work have been cited in a nu Read More