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Engaging Customers with Mobile Marketing

By STCR Staff

According to statistics from eMarketer, about 18 million adults in the United States used a grocery app at least once monthly in 2018, which translates to a 50 percent increase in usage from 2017. It’s clear that an increasing number of consumers are ready to get on board with using mobile apps to find coupons and sales, create grocery lists and even pay for and order their grocery items. Large grocery chains are taking notice of the increased adoption rate, and many have invested in strengthening their mobile capabilities in the past several years. Kroger was one of the first, introducing mobile features in 2010, while Albertsons introduced its app in 2016. There are many components of mobile apps and mobile marketing that make it well-suited for the 21st century grocery shopping experience.

Case Studies

  • Harmons: The Salt Lake City grocery chain, which operates 19 stores regionally, introduced its first app about a year ago. It has seen great success with connecting the mobile app to its loyalty program, the Foodie Club. Management noticed that most people were not aware of the rewards they were earning while they were in the store, so the app allows them to track their reward earnings. Seeing the progress of their rewards for purchases like fresh flowers from the in-store florist or coffee from the Harmons café can encourage spending to earn more rewards. After experiencing success with the app, the store has since added a pharmacy feature to renew prescriptions and an e-commerce site.
  • BJ’s: The wholesale club introduced its app also about a year ago to its 200 locations in 16 states. The BJ’s app features digital coupons, in-store pickup, same-day grocery delivery, a digital membership card, perks rewards and current gas prices. Management at BJ’s has reported that since rolling out the app, more than 1.5 million shoppers have downloaded it, and that the digital coupons, order pickup and same-day grocery delivery have catapulted the app to success.
  • SpartanNash: SpartanNash, the grocery distributor behind Family Fare Supermarkets, D&W Fresh Market and Family Fresh Market, recently launched mobile apps for its stores. Like most apps, the SpartanNash apps include digital coupons, rewards account management and pharmacy refills. The company has experienced considerable success by integrating the app with Fast Lane, its e-commerce platform, to allow in-app personalization. Fast Lane integrates with the company’s rewards program which allows customers to digitally “clip” and apply previously used digital coupons, select commonly purchased items or to sort items by department, sale items or dietary restrictions when placing an order.

In today’s mobile app landscape, grocery store apps span from sophisticated with diverse feature functionality to simple apps that work as an extension of the store’s website. Today’s consumer is looking for greater functionality and personalization than the past, and large grocery chains have proven there is value in offering customers the extra features they expect. Mobile apps will continue to evolve, and the modern grocer has to keep up with these developments to continue to make grocery shopping easier, quicker and more personalized.

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