Nutritional and other information a must for today’s food buyers
Food-focused mobile marketing often centers around coupons and promotions, but consumers are hungry for more than just discounts. They're also looking for information.
It’s not surprising that a March 2010 Deloitte survey found that the top two ways food shoppers use mobile phones involve deal seeking. But the remaining three activities—at substantial percentages—are information-driven. Close to a quarter of food shoppers use their phones in store to learn more about a product, whether on a brand's website or through online reviews.
An April 2010 study by researcher Latitude dug deeper into information needs. Asked about specific times they wished they had more information, matters related to health and quality took precedence over more practical info like price and where to find an item in the aisles. Granted, this open-to-anyone survey sample with a US majority was likely to have a higher than average interest in what they buy and eat. Even so, Deloitte’s respondents had similar concerns: A majority think that country-of-origin labeling for fresh meat and produce is extremely important (51%), and frequently or always reference nutritional facts (54%).
Asked how these information needs could be accommodated, Latitude’s respondents leaned heavily on mobile solutions, either citing apps or phones explicitly or desiring something portable and internet-connected in the abstract. Supermarkets should note that the No. 1 suggestion, recommended by slightly more than half of the respondents (51%), involves them: Shoppers expect their in-store shopping needs to be fulfilled by the grocer.
Currently, product information tends to be provided by the brands themselves or mobile apps like the new True Food Shopping Guide, which provides details on items that contain genetically modified foods. Yet there's no reason why a retailer couldn't step up and build trust—as well as loyalty—with the consumer.
In addition to the store locators and shopping-list builders often provided by grocers' mobile sites and apps, they could add value by telling shoppers where their cheese came from, which products contain allergens or how many calories are in nonpackaged foods without nutritional labels.
An August 2010 Porter Novelli white paper predicts that "[r]etailers will move to act as middlemen, with their own mobile technologies helping to influence the consumer at the shelf." However, the firm also sees "a potential marketing conflict of interest between individual brands and producers."
In an interview with eMarketer, Dave Sikora, founder and CEO of Digby, foresaw a more collaborative future. "Our view is that if you’re a retailer, you’re going to have your own branded app,” he said. “It’s like your affinity card. Like a frequent-user card. It’s multidimensional and allows you to check into stores and accumulate rewards points and time-sensitive discounts. You can use the scanner to obtain more product information, but it emanates from your branded application."
However retailers decide to approach the information gap—with an in-house solution or by working with third parties—it's important to remember that if mobile-wielding shoppers don't find the information they're looking for, they'll eventually seek it someplace else.
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Check out today’s other article, “Facebook Usage Still Rising in Europe, but UK Growth Slows.”