A recent white paper produced by brickmeetsclick.com entitled "Mobile-izing Grocery Shopping" outlines some of the impacts that growing mobile programs may have on the grocery store, and in particular to the path to purchase. The white paper is definitely worth the read (you can download it here) as it outlines and explores some of the core ways in which mobile will benefit shoppers in-store (savings of time, $$, and convenience) as well as some of the main impacts for the grocer.
In particular, the paper concludes with an outline of the potential impacts of mobile to the path of purchase and its relevancy for both retailers and suppliers. The paper concludes that mobile presents new opportunities to increase communication with shoppers in a more targeted and personalized way, while also bringing together the point of decision and the point of sale. Although the impacts to retailers and suppliers can be significant and varied, the trend that we see being the most disruptive is that of personalization. The ability to personalize any shopping experience and the power associated with this skill has long been recognized within the traditional bricks and mortar and now e-commerce industries. Traditionally, e-commerce has not been able to compete with the the 'helpful attendant in store' when it comes to a personalized experience. The difference, lately, is that e-commerce is now producing and harnessing behavior data much more effectively and beginning to provide personalized experiences that rival in-store experiences. This is mainly due to the inherent and natural data capture and distribution advantages that e-commerce has over bricks and mortar. The retailers now have the opportunity to leverage the best of both worlds, offering the benefits of bricks and mortar combined with the data, info distribution, and logistical advantages of e-commerce and mobile. In the near future, we'll continue to see retailers offering mobile solutions that leverage connectivity to personalize the experience. At the same time, e-commerce will continue to innovate and offer mobile experiences that can be taken in-stores to leverage the physical advantages that are inherent to brick and mortar. As the technology matures, the winners will be those that offer holistic solutions that are not only brick and mortar, but leverage mobile and e-commerce to their full potential to offer truly personalized experiences. Presently there are several mobile solutions available in the market for grocers to provide to their customers. Below are a few highlights:
- Tesco's foodie.fm: Facebook for food that exists online and on mobile. Includes a recommendation engine, personalized product recommendations (based on diet), shopping lists, product reviews and other social tools (FOODIES.FM)
- Scan as you shop: A mobile application that allows shoppers to scan products and then bag them in the aisles without the need to un-bag them at check out. A simple concept that also includes shopping lists and personalized discounts. (MODIV MEDIA)
- Mywebgrocer: A full solution, that offers e-commerce, digital coupons, online marketing solutions, and mobile - a holistic platform. Unfortunately, there is little personalization incorporated to date, and the mobile offering is limited to a shopping list with weekly specials. But the infrastructure is there none-the less to potentially begin offering more personalized experiences. (MYWEBGROCER)
- Gojee: A recipe recommendation engine that offers personalized recipes based on your preferences and what you have available in your fridge and what you just bought in store. A partnership with D'Agostino grocers allows you to link your loyalty card (and consequently purchases) to the application (GOJEE.COM)