Study: Grocers find success with mobile apps

Got an app? If you’re a food retailer the answer needs to be yes, or at least, working on it as new research reveals consumers like grocery apps and such tools can build and strengthen customer loyalty.

A three-year research report, "Consumer Perspectives on Grocery Apps and Digital Trust: Retailer Opportunities for Maximizing Differentiation and Success," by Saint Joseph University and the Food Marketing Institute, indicates a mobile app can be a big boost for sales and customer engagement.

"The findings are exciting for food retailers,” said Nancy M. Childs, Ph.D., a Gerald E. Peck Fellow and professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph's University. The researchers employed both qualitative and quantitative methods to measure consumer behavior.

"Grocery app use is important to track and engages customer loyalty, and app quality and functionality can differentiate retailers in a consumer's mind," she said in an announcement.

The ability to engage with shoppers, enhance the retail food interaction setting and even entertain a consumer can prove lucrative in the ever-competitive food industry. As the report indicates, today's shoppers are more tech savvy and more mobile than ever, and using mobile devices for everything from couponing to payment to price checking. Consumers using grocery apps are seeking savings and convenience, according to the research.

One crtical aspect, however, is that food retailers must pay attention to use of consumer data though at this point active grocery app users don't seem to be too concerned as yet about privacy, said Childs. They do however appreciate a retailer's transparency on how data may be used.

"Digital trust is key," said Childs. "The more consumers feel they are in control of their data, the more generous they are with information, and the more they are locked into an app for sales. The level of digital trust a consumer has with an app is critical and will be a meaningful differentiation when choosing grocery apps."

Topics: Loyalty Programs, Mobile Marketing, Retail

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