Small regional grocery store chain has big aspirations for a mobile shopping app

one of the country’s more unassuming grocery chains rolls out a robust mobile shopping app

If you spend time working in the retail grocery industry or listening to digital strategists at shopper marketing agencies, you’ll hear a lot about the penetration of mobile devices and the transformative power of mobile shopping apps. Unfortunately, with razor thin margins, most grocery retailers don’t have the investment or the motivation to build and launch a digital shopper-friendly tool. After all, food is something of a commodity. Everyone has to buy it, regardless of whether your shopping list lives in your smart phone or on a scrap of paper.

Which is why it’s encouraging to see one of the country’s more unassuming grocery chains roll out a fairly robust mobile shopping app that helps shoppers fill their baskets more efficiently and get in and out faster.

Woodman’s Markets is an employee-owned 14 store supermarket chain in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Supermarket News ranked it No. 4 in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 on list “Top 50 Small Chains & Independents.”

Early this year, Woodman’s built upon its century-long tradition of exceptional customer service and shopping innovation with the launch of an app they are calling “Mobile Shopper.”

With Mobile Shopper, Woodman’s shoppers can use their own smart phones to scan items in the aisles as they shop. Shoppers can use the app to create virtual shopping lists before going to the store, further increasing the speed, efficiency and ease of their shopping trips.

At checkout, shoppers go to the Woodman’s self-checkout (SCO) stations and scan a QR code on their phones to transfer their mobile shopping information to the SCO. The SCO station confirms the weight of the items scanned with the phone against the items being bagged at the SCO station.  Attendants can help customers reconcile any discrepancies the system identifies and answer any other questions they may have.  Produce, other non-barcoded items and impulse items can also be added at the self-checkout

Shoppers may then pay with their preferred method of payment and can quickly be on their way.  The store also features free WIFI throughout so shoppers don’t have to use their own data plan while using the app.

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Apparently, the application developer, NCR, was offering demonstrations of this mobile shopper technology at the National Retail Federation Big Show back in January at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, but unfortunately, no members of our Charlotte ad agency were able to attend.

For more information about the Woodman’s Mobile Shopper, follow the feed on Twitter, @WoodmansApp.

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