It’s difficult to turn on the television or browse the Internet without being presented with ads for the latest mobile device. Mobile technology has become one of the fastest growing segments of consumer electronics in the past several years, and with the release of the iPhone 6, Wearables, Google Glass, Near Field Communication (NFC), and other integrated mobile technology, the ability to use tech in our everyday lives is only likely to increase.
One area that stands to see a major impact from mobile tech is shopping for consumer-packaged goods, or the items that consumers use every day.
CPG brands and Retailers alike are eager to leverage mobile technology to communicate with target audiences throughout the customer journey as well as enhance the overall customer experience. One challenge that marketers face, however, is understanding how exactly consumer use mobile tech while shopping and how best to message them.
According to Patrick Hadlock from The Boston Consulting Group:
“Consumers are embracing technologies, devices, and services that make everyday tasks such as shopping, cooking, and even commuting quicker, easier, more fun, and more efficient. This is fragmenting the purchasing pathway as consumers regularly switch back and forth between digital and physical channels, and they interact digitally both in and outside of stores,”
Here at Crimson Hexagon, we wanted to use social listening to tune into consumer conversation to understand how shoppers are using mobile devices and uncover the opportunities that exist for brands. We took at look at how consumers are discussing grocery shopping online and returned some interesting insights.
The primary use of mobile devices by consumers who are shopping for CPG products or groceries was the use of apps on smartphones. Apps that were created by retailers like Target, Walmart, and Safeway were the most talked about on social media (primarily Twitter and Facebook). Independent apps created by non-retailers designed to allow for meal planning and recipe creation ranked second in popularity.
One finding showed that grocery delivery apps like PeaPod and Fresh Direct ranked a distant fourth overall. We found this surprising, due to the general buzz that these services created when they were first launched several years ago.
The lack of usage by stand-alone grocery delivery apps created by third parties could have been due to the fact that several of the apps created by Retailer allow users to virtually clip coupons, create recipes and shopping lists, and have products delivered all in one location.
Another area we wanted to focus on is emerging technology buzz. One such technology that has received a great deal of discussion recently is NFC, or Near Field Communication. For those not familiar with this technology, NFC allows a mobile devices or product to communicate with other devices simply by making contact. While the technology has been around for several years, the adoption by Apple Pay and Google Wallet has vaulted the technology into the mainstream. Many of the newer smartphones such as the iPhone 6 include NFC chips.
One of the use cases for NFC technology is retail purchasing. NFC-equipped devices allow users to pay for products purchased at any retail location by touching their phone or other NFC-enabled device to a tap-to-pay device at checkout. As with any new payment technology, we see a degree of apprehension among consumers, however, it appears that purchasers of CPG products at retail locations are a readily adopting the new technology.
Most consumers reference the convenience of not having to carry their wallet or purse into the supermarket as the number one driver of using their mobile device to purchase products.
While the latest technology may be growing in popularity, retailers and brands should view NFC as a technology that can add convenience to shoppers who are asking for it rather than a must-have expectation for the general public.
While clipping paper coupons and jotting down recipes on a notepad may be on the way out for the next generation of shoppers, the concepts of saving time and money at the grocery store are alive and well. Brands or retailers who successfully address these two areas are bound to gain users, drive brand engagement and win over customers in the long term.
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