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Retail apps in the supermarket

Published: 12. februari 2016

Retail apps are nowadays available from many supermarkets. For the retailers, the apps give an opportunity to interact with consumers regarding various products, pricing, specials, among other things. The technology has led to new possibilities for increased revenue and competitive advantage. We have looked a bit closer at the apps provided by the Swedish grocery chain ICA. The company is an example of what different sort of apps a grocery store or supermarket chain can develop for creating more business value.

The ICA company was early adapters of technology innovations and has for a long time had a vision of how technology will change the shopping behavior in stores. Therefore they are constantly developing new features and apps for their customers. See the list below.

Mobile paying – shopping with a QR code

The latest release is an app for mobile payments. The user starts the visit in the store with scanning a QR code that tells which store it is, and then scans barcodes on the merchandise to be purchased and concludes by scanning a QR code that identifies the checkout. Today this app only works in nine stores, but in the future, it will be operating in all ICA-stores.

In-store location awareness – creepy but cool

Soon ICA will introduce blue tooth technology that maps how customers move in the stores. The purpose is to send the appropriate advertising to customers’ mobile phones. When a customer passes through an area with a special offer, the app will send a customised message to the customers’ smartphones.
According to a survey* in the US, consumers have mixed feelings of in-store location awareness. 37% thought it was “creepy” that the store could identify them without their knowledge, and 40% thought it was “cool” to get access to recommendations and in-store discount.

ICA Shop – win-win for customers and retailers

The ICA Shop is the main app and has the functions that most grocery shops have: personalised offers, shareable shopping lists that can be sorted by the layout of the store, subscriptions on menus, a recipe bank and possibilities to check the balance and bonus on the ICA card.

These sort of shopping applications have many benefits for both customers and retailers. For customers, these apps help find items while in the store, share lists with friends or family and help save money with notifications about weekly discount offers. For retailers, these apps keep customers coming back, drive sales and increase customer loyalty.

ICA Bank – a supermarket bank in the pocket

Like other big retailers, ICA has its own bank which offers advantageous loans, credit cards, and savings accounts, and the credit card is connected to the ICAs loyalty program.

The ICA Bank app serves several important functions. In addition to providing user-friendly banking services, the bank helps strengthen loyalty to ICA while lowering the cost of the financial flows of the ICA system.

ICA Health – loyalty, health, and reward

The ICA health app gives customers discounts in exchange for exercise. The more the person exercises, the greater the discount. The rebate can, however, be a maximum of 25% and applies to selected promotional products for those who have the ICA card. This app is a good example of a twist on the loyalty program app, and it is smart that a grocery retailer mixes food and health.

ICA Play – long-term brand management

ICA has showed a type of soap opera commercials on Swedish television since 2001.It is a series of 45-second episodes set in an ICA store where the characters show the week’s discounted merchandise. The commercials have won several marketing prices and the soap opera has gained cult status over the years. The ICA play app slogan is “simply a great app if you want to kill a few hours.” Providing these films is part of the ICA’s long-term brand management and it would be strange if they did not have its own app.

ICA Barbeque – brand experience

¬Swedes love to grill during the short summer. To match the people’s interests, ICA has developed a special barbecue app. In this app, there are several recipes and many guides to how to become a master grill chef. This is a typical app that reinforces a brand’s core values to current and potential customers. With this app ICA thinks outside the shopping box and provides an app that becomes a part of a user’s daily life. It is smart and encourages customer loyalty to ICA.

ICA Photo – business strategy and brand loyalty

With this app, customers can order photocopies, as well as create personalised photo smartphone covers, photo calendars, photo mugs and canvas prints, etc. When ICA launched this service in 2009, they also offered media sales and gift experiences, but nowadays they only offer the photo service. This app was a step in ICAs digital business development. Digital sales that are not connected to the core business generate additional sales and strengthens loyalty to the brand.

Peppers Club – loyal babysitter

This is the app for the children in the household. Together with a couple of vegetable figures, the children will learn about fruit and vegetables in a game setting. It is a smart way to introduce vegetables to children and the little ones will also be loyal to the ICA brand. And of course, the app is a smart babysitter while the parents are planning their grocery shopping.

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