Loyalty programs haven’t seen the brightest days in the grocery space lately. In the past couple of years alone, there’s been a 24 percent decline in memberships.
True, the drop – from 188 million in 2015 to 142 million in 2017 – isn’t so much due to declining interest as it is to mergers and acquisitions in the grocery channel. But it still supports the idea that grocers need to continue providing enticing reasons for consumers to pick up their phones, download that app and register an account.
Shoppers are more willing to give their personal data if they get something worthwhile in return – such as a discount, a coupon, or loyalty points redeemable for free products and discounts, Kate Hogenson, strategic loyalty consultant with St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Kobie Marketing, told Progressive Grocer in September 2017.
Another major trend: Midwestern grocer Woodman’s Food Markets, which operates more than a dozen stores in Wisconsin and Illinois, has reported that three-quarters of American adults claim they’re taking more personal responsibility for their health than they were a decade ago.
Millennials in particular are taking personal interest in their health in record numbers and, in doing so, are increasingly driving sales in categories such as healthy food. Unlike prior generations, Millennials aren’t driven by discounts and have a general mistrust of large food and beverage manufacturers, choosing transparency and authenticity instead.
Bring these trends together, and suddenly there’s an opportunity to leverage the power of mobile apps as a way to help shoppers take charge of their health and, in turn, openly share their information with their favorite grocers.
Here’s how several noteworthy grocers that, this past summer alone, have begun leveraging mobile apps to do this.
The Kroger Co.
Last July, the Kroger Co. debuted a mobile app that helps customers make more informed, health-conscious decisions when buying groceries. Called OptUp, the new offering is part of Kroger’s Wellness Your Way platform, which supports the grocer’s four-pillar Restock initiative to reinvent the shopping experience, says Collen Linzhold, president of pharmacy and The Little Clinic at the Cincinnati-based grocery giant. It encourages shoppers to engage in a “balanced, holistic approach to self-care” by putting nutritional information at shoppers’ fingertips and making it easier to find and purchase better-for-you groceries.
The new grocery technology bases scores on a nationally recognized dietary standard enhanced by Kroger’s registered dietitians. The product-score range is between one and 100: Products scoring 71 or better fall in the “green category”; are lower in saturated fat, sugar, sodium and calories; and may be higher in such content as fiber, protein, fruit and vegetables, or nuts. Meanwhile, products scoring between 36 and 70 fall in the yellow category, and those between one and 35 fall in the red category. Kroger dietitians recommend that shopping carts contain at least 50 percent green-category products.