Mo­bile de­vices play­ing a larger role in com­pil­ing gro­cery shop­ping lists

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - By Brian Feldt

More gro­cery shop­pers than ever be­fore are us­ing mo­bile de­vices to sup­ple­ment — or in some cases take over — their shop­ping, with one Deloitte study find­ing more than half of all gro­cery sales to­day are dig­i­tally in­flu­enced.

As such, gro­cers of all sizes are in­vest­ing large amounts of time and money in their dig­i­tal prod­ucts to at­tract or re­tain cus­tomers who are in­creas­ingly will­ing to shop at mul­ti­ple stores to suit their bud­gets.

More than 18 mil­lion Amer­i­cans have gro­cery apps on their smart­phones, a fig­ure that is ex­pected to nearly dou­ble over the next five years, ac­cord­ing to re­search from eMar­keter. And about 18 per­cent of those con­sumers use apps to buy gro­ceries at least once a month, a trend that is also ex­pected to ac­cel­er­ate.

In essence, gro­cers need to cap­ture cus­tomers be­fore they even walk out of their front door to get to the store.

“If the shop­per is order­ing from their reg­u­lar gro­cery store, fa­mil­iar­ity helps with trust that the prod­ucts will be the qual­ity they ex­pect,” eMar­keter se­nior an­a­lyst Pa­tri­cia Orsini said in a study she spear­headed fo­cused on gro­cery-app us­age. “A bad ex­pe­ri­ence, how­ever, could turn con­sumers off for good, so re­tail­ers need to en­sure they pro­vide a good ex­pe­ri­ence from Day One.”

Not sur­pris­ingly, younger gen­er­a­tions that are more likely to use on­line tools to make the most of their shop­ping trips are driv­ing the trend.

“Peo­ple just aren’t the plan­ners they used to be,” said Josh Ho­gan, manag­ing direc­tor of dig­i­tal for World Wide Tech­nol­ogy, which has helped de­velop apps for re­tail­ers in­clud­ing Papa John’s and Pan­era.

“The con­ven­tional days of putting lists to­gether and do­ing the weekly shop­ping are chang­ing,” Ho­gan said. “Peo­ple are re­ally go­ing to the store two to three times a week now to fig­ure out what is for din­ner that night. So phase one is how can we re­ward them for com­ing to our store. And phase two re­ally gets into how can we make a more fresh and fric­tion­less ex­pe­ri­ence.”

JOE CARROTTA / THE NEW YORK TIMES

An­drew Chisholm takes bags full of fresh food or­dered by Jet.com cus­tomers out of his Par­cel van for de­liv­ery in New York this month. About 18 per­cent of con­sumers with gro­cery apps use them once a month to buy food.

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