How Mobile Is Redefining the Grocery Industry

September 19, 2016

Bill Sussman

CEO at Collective Bias
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This article by Collective Bias president and CEO, Bill Sussman, originally appeared on Progressive Grocer.

It should come as little surprise that 68 percent of adults in the U.S. own a smartphone.

Google recently released a new report, How Mobile Has Redefined the Consumer Decision Journey for Shoppers, which reveals how smartphones are shaping the retail industry and why brands should be shifting their strategies to work seamlessly with the mobile-fueled shopping landscape. According to the report, foot traffic in retailers has declined by 56 percent over the last five years, but the value of each visit by a consumer has nearly tripled. Mobile is driving local which is essential for getting consumers into your grocery stores. People are using their smartphones to research, shop and more.

The compelling reality is that we check our phones 150 times a day but at an average of only one minute, 10 seconds per session. Google has taken these short bursts of activity and identified some key “micro-moments” that retailers need to be a part of in order to succeed in the mobile-driven world. Let’s break these micro-moments down and identify how grocery marketers can use them to reach consumers at the most important times.

I-Want-To-KNOW Moments

Google defines a micro-moment as a moment of turning to a mobile device to take an action based on intent, immediacy and context. I-want-to-know moments are a result of curiosity: when a consumer is simply researching for useful information or inspiration. Take this stat as an example: 66 percent of users turn to their smartphones to learn more about something they saw in a TV commercial. Consumers are not looking to be sold to in these moments. They could be searching for something like “How can I eat healthier?”

As a grocery marketer, you should be serving up educational content that helps the consumer solve what they’re searching for. Look into partnering with social influencers to create a series of snackable videos that “healthify” normally indulgent recipes using products found in your stores. Influencers are your best bet at creating videos that are relatable and informative to everyday shoppers. When consumers find these videos, you’re helping them satisfy the curiosity about eating healthy while positively influencing their perception of your store for the future. Not only do the influencers create appetizing content, they can drive new audiences to your store and the brands on your shelves.

I-Want-To-GO Moments

These micro-moments truly reflect the notion that mobile devices are driving local traffic. These times reflect when people are looking to connect to the physical world and find a local business. This is where it becomes crucial that your mobile site or app reflects each individual store. After all, 61 percent of smartphone users are more likely to buy from you if your app customizes information to their location. Proximity is key: highlight nearby stores with up-to-date inventories. Showing that you have the products they want will make them much more likely to make a brick-and-mortar trip.

I-Want-To-DO Moments

YouTube video searches related to “how to” have grown 70 percent year-over-year. Clearly, consumers want to try new things and get help completing tasks. Google states these micro-moments of wanting to do something can come before or after the purchase. Video is your best friend in reaching consumers during these times of “how do I make something gluten free” and “how do I cook roasted chicken.”

Content can drive “do” moments and sales by creating new usage occasions. Getting creative with your content can encourage multi-brand purchases and inspire an additional trip to the store. Did you know people often start thinking about what’s for dinner at 3:00 pm? They use mobile to search YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. Keep up with what people are searching for and tailor what how-to and recipe content you produce with that in mind. Football season coming? Provide a video on the best tailgating dips. Halloween creeping around the corner? Show off your store’s best themed recipes. There are so many ways to provide value to your consumers in these arenas they are participating in.

Final note: The mobile landscape is here and now. With 82 percent of smartphone users turning to their devices to help them make a product decision, it’s crucial that your brand is there to help them and provide value during any micro-moment. As Google put it, “Be there. Be useful. Be quick.”

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