Long before the launch of the smartphone, grocery shopping revolved around the weekly printed circular found in local newspapers. Meal planners would read through those colorful pages and then make the week’s menu plans based on the posted sales and coupons available for clipping.
Just as printed newspapers are rapidly moving to online and handheld app formats, the grocery shopping planning experience is also evolving into a digital one. In fact, a recent study released by Florida-based Acosta found nearly 60% of all U.S. shoppers in 2020 now feel comfortable using digital tools to help with their grocery shopping.
Acosta, a full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry, released a report titled “The Mobile-ization of Grocery Shopping” that shines a bright light on the growing role of smartphone technology in the grocery store aisles.
“Smartphones have grown to become a huge part of daily life, so it’s only natural that retailers and shoppers are connecting this technology with the grocery buying experience,” reports Colin Stewart, Executive Vice President, Business Intelligence at Acosta. “We saw increased ‘mobile-ization’ numbers this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
That’s supported by the online trade journal Grocery Dive, which reports that downloads of the Walmart grocery app increased 460% in April 2020 compared to January, while Target experienced a 98% increase in daily downloads in March and April.
“With 90% of grocery shoppers using a smartphone and already 60% accepting the use of digital tools in their experience, retailers and brands have a golden opportunity to talk directly and intimately to the grocery shopper,” said Joe Crum, Director of Marketing and eCommerce for Retail Space Solutions, Milwaukee, WI. “That’s why we’re seeing more and more grocers, at both the national and regional levels, investing in digital tools. They are now able to connect with shoppers on a more personal level.”
And shoppers are responding. Perhaps hastened by the pandemic, more that 7 out of 10 shoppers report relying on their smartphones for things like help in planning, online ordering, finding products in the store, digital coupons and loyalty programs.
According to Acosta, it appears the trend will not slow down. Nearly 3 out of 4 Millennial shoppers report that they feel comfortable using smartphone apps. That compares to fewer than 50% of Baby Boomers expressing a comfort level with digital tools.
Cashier-less scan-and-go checkout, touchless phone payments and other advancements using smartphone technology are also gaining in popularity among grocers seeking to provide a faster and safer shopping environment for customers and staff.
“The shopping experience has significantly changed, and many consumers are limiting their trips to the grocery store and being as efficient as possible with their time in the store,” Stewart said. “To do this, they are looking to mobile solutions more and more.”
Without question, in-store efficiency is of prime importance during the pandemic. Smartphones and apps can help guide shoppers to the correct locations in a store, but that’s only half of the efficiency equation. The other is ensuring that the shelves are adequately stocked, and that products are organized for easy and fast selection.
And that’s where advanced product display technologies come in. Retail Space Solutions offers a full line of pusher display systems – including the industry-leading SpaceGrid®II – that work hand-in-glove with smartphone apps to help provide the most efficient grocery shopping experience possible.
“With a pusher display system in place, products are always front-faced and ready for fast selection, and that helps make the entire shopping experience more efficient,” Crum said. Restocking and conditioning is also simplified: product trays slide out for easy rotation and stocking.
The width of SpaceGrid II trays also adjust quickly to accommodate a variety of package sizes, from 5 to 10.9 inches, which comes in handy when planograms change.
“The advanced mechanical technology in SpaceGrid II is the perfect complement to the digital smartphone technology grocery shoppers are relying on more and more,” Crum said. “Making sure that a display is stocked and neat when an app directs a customer to it is key to creating a safe and efficient shopping experience.”
For more information about SpaceGrid II or any of the other pusher display systems available from Retail Space Solutions, visit retailspacesolutions.com or phone 800-279-5291.