WersDa Blog

Providing our mobile expertise to supermarkets

Do I really need an app for my grocery stores?

Ryan Lons

It may seem that the obvious answer to this question would be a resounding “Yes!” But why is it obvious? It does seem that every company in most modern countries has an app or two but are they necessary?

If you don’t have an app you won’t go out of business tomorrow, or next week, or next year. An app isn’t necessary the same way that Electronic POS systems and loyalty cards aren’t necessary. Technically you can operate a store on machine POS systems, personal checks and no customer purchase tracking. Think of all the money you’d save. You might even get more positive PR from the hipsters given the retro vibe! But clearly you shouldn't actually tear out your EPOS systems and loyalty cards, though it does illustrate a point. We’re crossing the invisible line where before it was ok not to have a useful mobile presence. Most people feel this at a gut level have difficulty articulating why. So in brief, here are the top 3 reasons that you as a grocery store company need to have your own, high quality, app starting soon.

Top 3 reasons you need your own app.

1) Mobile technology isn’t going anywhere
This is obvious but it’s worth spelling out. What does mobile tech look like in 5 years? 5 years prior to now the only mobile apps in existence were made by the mobile companies. Mobile technology has been growing and is going to continue to grow. One interesting side effect is going to be the blending of mobile and traditional software. This is already happening but the paradigm most people know is Apps for mobile, and web/installed software for laptops and desktops. The future of mobile technology is really just the future of all technology. The new reality is mobile tech and if you want to stay viable in the world you need to grow and invest in your mobile tech department. 

It’s not a one time thing either, you can’t build and app and “be done.” On average technology performance doubles at a rate of 2 times per 18 months. There is no end goal. It’s both a journey and a moving target. Your mobile development (business and software) needs to be a process, not a project.

2) You will lose customers and sales if you don’t. (You probably already are)
Numerous studies show that mobile use while shopping is on the rise. Your customers are looking for information. You’re not providing it and other people are, some of them may be your competitors. Among the top things customers search for is price comparisons, product reviews, and recipes. If you’re not guiding and educating your shoppers you are losing in store conversions daily.

3) Tremendous opportunity, mobile tech is a tool and its powerful and efficient if you use it the right way.
We have more articles scheduled that go into this deeper. Many of the less awesome grocery store apps in existence are using the app the wrong way. The analogy would like trying to cut lumber with a hammer. You may indeed make some progress (and a mess) smashing and hacking a piece of wood in two but it uses a lot of energy and takes a long time. That same hammer works amazingly well if you use it for setting or pulling nails. Most grocery stores try to use their apps as “optimization machines.” For example, to deliver news/events “better” or deliver coupons “better.” While this may be how technology is used behind the scenes at grocery stores, it is not how it’s used as an interaction point with your customers. If you use your app the right way you can have a tremendous positive impact on your customers and their brand loyalty. 

A mobile app/presence is not mandatory today. It may be fashionable but not mandatory. What is becoming mandatory is that grocery store companies need to be aware that technology is pervasive and not going away. Your customers are being affected by it and it is naive to think you can get away with only half understanding what technology is doing to your industry. Our goal at WersDa is to provide our expertise to help guide the grocery/supermarket industry when it comes to having a healthy and profitable mobile presence.