In The Mobile-ization of Grocery Shopping report released earlier this month, the full-service sales and marketing agency found 89% of US grocery shoppers have a smartphone – up 22 percentage points from 2015 – and they increasingly are using them to efficiently shop and limit trips to the grocery store.
According to Acosta, nearly six in 10 US shoppers report feeling comfortable using digital and online tools to assist with grocery shopping – including via their phones – a figure that has steadily increased from 35% in 2015 and 42% in 2017.
At the same time, nearly seven in 10 shoppers report using a grocery retailer’s app, not just to buy food online but for a variety of reason, according to Acosta.
For example, many shoppers use their mobile phones to track promotions and redeem coupons. According to Acosta, 34% of shoppers view the grocery circular online and 26% do so via the retailer app. Likewise, 30% of shoppers download coupons to their phones, which is up from 19% in 2015. In addition, 44% download coupons on their shopper cards, up from 28% in 2015.
As the use of digital coupons goes up, the use of printed ones has gone down, according to the report. Redemption of printed coupons received in the mail fell nine percentage points to 44% in 2020 compared to 2015, while those from a retailer’s printed circular fell 15 percentage points to 35% in the same time. Redemption of printed coupons in the newspaper or from a flyer in the mail has faired slightly better, dropping to 44% from 54% in the same period.
Acosta notes that retailers can further engage with consumers via their apps and online by allowing them to build lists in the app and then delivering real-time promotions for products for additional or complementary grocery items on those lists.
Beyond promotions, shoppers use grocery apps to more efficiently navigate stores and participate in loyalty rewards programs. As such, Acosta recommends that retailers offer maps of individual stores, integrate mobile-enabled signage and alert shoppers via their mobile device when they are nearing an item in store that is on their list.
Finally, consumers often use their mobile phones to find inspiration for purchase and cooking and to share what they are buying with friends and family, according to Acosta. It notes that 48% of grocery shoppers follow brands and 44% follow retailers on social media to access promotions, discover new products, learn about sales and get ideas for using products in recipes.
While the pandemic may have turbo-charged consumer adoption on online shopping, and the use of mobile phones to either buy online or streamline in store shopping, the trend is here to stay long after, predicts Acosta – making it a trend that retailers should adopt sooner rather than later.