How app-based grocery stores can provide a more personalized experience

Are you a fan of shopping?

Don’t get me wrong. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good dose of retail therapy. But grocery shopping… Aagh! Now that’s a whole new ball game.

I don’t know about you, but I want to dash into the store and purchase everything on the list for the best price possible. And the quicker, the better.

At times, it feels as if I’m wandering down the aisles, each product calling out to me, “Buy me.” I began to wonder if others felt like me.

So naturally, I did some research.

And it appears that I am not alone. 7% of consumers dislike or hate shopping in grocery or mass merchandiser stores. Others will do anything to avoid going to the store.

But even savvy shoppers know that to get the best deals, you’ve got to be aware of what’s being offered in other stores as well. So, unfortunately, over 40% of shoppers end up shopping for groceries at more than one location.

But more importantly, I found that 41% of consumers neither liked nor disliked shopping for products in grocery stores. This highlights the opportunities for grocery store owners to focus on. And as the era of digitalization goes into super drive, honing on them as soon as possible is a great way to strive ahead.

Trends are showing that the coming generations will focus more on online grocery shopping. Baby boomers were well-known for bringing long lists to supermarkets.

But now, younger shoppers are visiting grocery stores less frequently. 51% of Americans prefer to shop online.

Grocery stores are in the middle of digitalization

Big names in retail such as Khols, Apple, Sephora, and Lululemon are already paving their roads to success with apps.

But grocery stores are only now slowly picking up the pace. Commonly downloaded apps include Walmart Grocery, Target, Kroger, and Whole Foods.

But businesses already know that apps are a great way of enhancing the brand’s name as more and more companies are entering the grocery market. More importantly, apps provide customers access to products 24/7 while curating their shopping experience.

And since it’s all about a data-driven market, grocery apps not only provide customers with essential information, but they also collect, track, and analyze substantial amounts of data.

Personalization through apps

Because customer touchpoints are increasing, apps are helping to manage consumer behavior as it continuously shifts from offline to online.

To attract and retain customers, grocery store owners need to maximize the shopping experience. And to create a seamless omnichannel experience, data must be correlated to their unique profiles.

Personalization simplifies these complexities, especially with the aid of artificial intelligence. And as tasks are automated, grocers can focus on strategies that engage customers in every channel and deliver a holistic customer experience.

And with CRM, consumer profiles can build individualized grocery shopping moments. The result is that interactions are occurring on a more personal level.

Personalization helps brands:

  • Gain a competitive edge
  • Automates labor-intensive work
  • Increases product findability
  • Boosts conversion
  • Builds customer loyalty
  • Enhances overall customer experience

Types of Apps for Grocery Store Owners

Apps are transforming the shopping experience throughout the phases of the purchasing cycle. Moreover, they are helping grocers understand customers’ needs better.

Apps can be used for:

Grocery delivery services

Apps that deliver perishable food items are rapidly increasing in popularity. Many love the fact that you can complete grocery shopping without even leaving home. Moreover, you can also hire people to pick products for you to ensure that everything is fresh.

Certona says online grocery sales are increasing worldwide. It’s expected to reach a whopping $334 billion by 2022. Moreover, eMarketer shows that the number of people using apps to order groceries has increased by almost 50%.

Price comparison platforms

It’s all about the money. Where can you get the best to buy? Some apps help target low prices.

Customer tracking apps

While this may sound intrusive, it aims at improving the shopping experience by observing the customer’s behavior, such as which aisles they spend the most time or how many times they come to the grocery store.

Shopper’s lists

Shoppers can create a list of the items they need from a store. Products that are typically required every month will be automatically prompted. And family members can share one list. Add what items you need.

Grocery discount applications

Digital coupons are the latest fad. Apps are offering discounts to loyal customers. And as apps pick up your preferences, you’ll be alerted of any promotions that apply and receive notifications of when they are about to expire.

Navigation apps

Sometimes finding a product is like a treasure hunt. Navigation apps can leverage mobile technology that customers are familiar using. They can help customers find products easily in the store. The goal is to drive customers into the store, not keep them away.

For instance, The Home Depot’s mobile app offers an “in-store” mode to guide customers to exactly where the item is. This facilitates shopping because no two stores have the same layout.

Simplify the checkout process

Scan and go apps are just entering the industry. Amazon and Walmart are testing a simplified, hassle-free version of grocery shopping. Walmart allows customers to scan products they want to buy on their mobile phones. Once a receipt is generated, customers can walk out the door.

However, Amazon uses a combination of AI, computer vision, and multiple sensors to collect data charge the bill to the Amazon account.

The future of grocery shopping aims at bringing these technologies onto one platform to produce a seamless customer experience, whether it’s digital, online, or offline.

Grocery loyalty programs

While this is one way that grocery stores are capturing data, it is a necessary step in rendering relevant and personalized experiences. It provides valuable feedback for contextual marketing opportunities.

For example, Kroger utilizes a Plus Card loyalty program to predict the products consumers might want to buy. Shoppers receive customized digital coupons to create an incentive to shop.

One Final Thought

Shopping preferences are shifting yet again. Price is no longer the most critical factor in boosting sales. Customers are looking for value. They want a streamlined shopping experience, quality items, enhanced customer service, and much more.

They also demand a variety of information, such as product information, nutritional advice, recipes, tips, or purchase recommendations.

It’s necessary to build emotional connections. Apps must encourage customers to shop, spend more, and remain loyal. More importantly, a personalized in-store shopping experience can make buying an enjoyable and easy task.

Wrapping up

Despite competition from other grocery outlets, traditional supermarkets are still the go-to place for grocery shoppers. But supermarkets will need to take customer preferences and developing technology into their mix.

Digitalization has allowed grocery shopping to be easily incorporated into busy schedules while presenting the freedom to research products on the go. Offering incentives such as free home delivery and point of sales promotions are ways of gaining a competitive advantage.

Grocery retail must undergo dynamic changes in order to adapt in a fiercely competitive environment. Young shoppers are happy with an abundance of options at their fingertips.

More specifically, people want to spend less time and money on shopping. So companies need to work on delivering hassle-free shopping experience.

Mehul Rajput
Mehul Rajput
Mehul Rajput is a CEO and co-founder of Mindinventory, a leading mobile app development company which specializes in Android and iOS app development and provide web and mobile app solutions from startup to enterprise level company. He's an avid blogger and writes on mobile technologies, mobile app, app marketing, app development, startup and business.
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