In recent years global eCommerce and mCommerce have made further inroads across a wide swath of products and services. Convenience and the large millennial target base on-the-go mean that the mobile phone has to be the solution for most things. There’s an app for everything. Around the world, more than a third of online shoppers bought groceries via the Internet in 2016—34% vs. 21% in 2015—according to a new AlphaWise survey from Morgan Stanley Research.
The faster online grocery adoption has accelerated eCommerce growth across the world. Many factors are contributing to this trend. More shoppers are now accustomed to online shopping including the younger, more mobile generation of consumers. Several boutique online-only grocery services have cropped up recently proving that this business model can be successful. If you are considering creating your grocery app, then the popular choice is often Xamarin mobile development. It is a cross-platform framework with the write-once-run-everywhere coding for three leading mobile platforms: Windows, Android and iOS.
But before you get started with the development there are a few things to consider. What are some of the motivations for customers to download grocery apps and use them? Nancy M. Childs PhD, professor of Food Marketing, outlines three key motivations of grocery shopping app users in her research “The Digital Grocery Commerce: Insights for Enhancing Consumer Connection with Grocery Shopping Apps:”
- Consumer Personalization: The benefits are cost savings, special alerts, and convenience.
- Convenience: Ease and speed of transaction (item selection and payment), simplification of the shopping trip, and added enjoyment and satisfaction in the effort.
- Economic Advantage: Often apps have a surprise element of discount and flash sales announced via push notifications.
The study also notes that there is high consumer enthusiasm for successful grocery apps. Happy customers share this positive feedback over social media. What are some of the differentiating factors that separate the better apps from the average ones? While some apps succeed in customization and convenience functions, including deli-pre order and regular updates on social media. Some others excel in easily accessible coupons and savings. The third factor is gamification, interactivity and ‘how to’ videos.
Your grocery app can benefit from some common factors that contribute to grocery app success:
What Retail Grocery Niche Are You Targeting?
- In-store Grocery Apps: In-store apps offer a personalized user experience, creating the physical store virtually by giving a clear idea to customers about the grocery products and their quality. Push notifications, discount coupons, intimating the store location when the customer is in proximity are some of the features.
- eCommerce Grocery Apps: Customers can purchase grocery online using apps as per their availability and time. These apps are used by online retailers, and also physical stores who offer delivery services.
- Personalized Grocery Apps For Shoppers: These are personal shopping list apps that help the shopper to create lists, set reminders and share grocery related information with family and friends.
Features And Functions
While the list of features would be specific and tailor-made for each grocery store, some common functions prevail.
- Splash screen with brand logo
- Login / Register
- Easy swipe navigation with brand logo
- SMS / Call mobile number authentication
- Ease of navigation from categories & subcategories
- Favorite product list
- Product search
- Product screen popup with description
- Payment integration – using Apple pay, Paypal, BrainTree payment gateway, Android Pay
- Schedule delivery
Additionally, the solution should offer push notifications, mention lucrative offers, provide a store locator, and an advanced search option. “You saved X amount” on today’s grocery shopping message that rounds up the total discount has a high appeal for customers.
Some of the world’s leading grocery/supermarket chains have understood the importance of being available on mobile and have stepped up their game with apps. These include Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Publix and Grofers. Some of them also have a checklist or in-store app to help shoppers. The apps are super slick with fancy features like searching recipes for available ingredients to scanning QR codes.
Cross platform Compatibility
You need a multi-platform grocery app to reach out to users with various kinds of devices and operating systems. Xamarin has an obvious edge for building such apps. It is based on Microsoft technology stack and already has a 1.4 million-strong community.
Xamarin uses C# and native libraries wrapped in the .Net layer for cross-platform app development. Such applications are often compared to native for both iOS and Android mobile development platforms in terms of performance and user experience. Also, Xamarin allows developers to create native look and feel for each platform as it uses native UI components from each platform so the end result looks like a custom app.
Some Final Thoughts
Grocery app adoption among users is high and will continue to rise as the digital-savvy consumer shops more online. Some areas that need work are instilling digital trust in your consumer and providing optimum security. In summary, grocery apps are here to stay and only getting more sophisticated and personalized with time. Soon with the help of predictive analysis, grocery lists could be auto-generated and you would probably need to check off items from the pre-built list. Meal planning has just got a lot simpler. Do you agree? Please share your views in the comments section below.