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Five Ways Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Companies Can Use Mobile to Capture the Always-On Shopper

Posted @ 5:29 pm by Tim Ross | Category: Community & Social Media, Mobile, Strategy | 0 Comments

This is part four of our series on how Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies can leverage web and mobile technologies to drive business results. View other articles in the series here: part one on increasing sales, part two on driving research and development, part three on improving customer servicepart five on connecting with shoppers through video, part six on utilizing web content management tools, and part seven on video analytics.   

In the last 18 months, shopper usage of mobile tools—from mobile coupons to barcode scanners to, more recently, Apple’s Passbook—has doubled. According to Nielsen, over half of Americans now own smartphones and nearly half (47%) of those smartphone users use shopping apps. As more brands release valuable apps and more consumers buy and become more addicted to smartphones, that trend is likely to continue. The bottom line is that the shopper is always on, and the most successful brands will be right there with them. That’s great news for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies, which are now presented with virtually endless opportunities for engaging consumers.

Following are five ways CPG companies can use mobile to reach consumers we’re they’re at:

1. Geofencing

Via apps such as ShopKick, CPG brands can offer deals to customers at exactly the right point in their shopping trip. ShopKick uses what’s called “geofencing” to pinpoint where customers are and push relevant offers and discounts to them. The app is partnered with dozens of retailers as well as some 40 CPG brands, including P&G, Unilever, Kraft, Colgate, and Clorox. eBay’s Red Laser app may soon be giving ShopKick a run for its money—so far Red Laser is only partnered with BestBuy, but its partner network is bound to expand soon.

2. Barcode Scanners

The Amazon app has long been one of the most-used smartphone apps, and with Amazon opening more regional distribution centers it could soon become one of the country’s most popular purchasing tools as Amazon moves toward enabling cheaper same-day or next-day shipping. eBay’s Red Laser app also includes a barcode scanner enabling on-the-go comparison shopping and purchases from anywhere.

3. Self-Checkout

While Amazon might nab customers away from local retailers (just scan a product in-store, buy it on Amazon to skip the line or the hassle of carting it home, and it shows up at your door within 24 hours), a number of self-checkout apps enable customers to skip the line while keeping profits in the hands of brick-and-mortar store operators.

AisleBuyer partners with retailers to give shoppers a sort of hybrid online-offline experience: The ease of an online purchase with the immediate gratification inherent to an in-store purchase. AisleBuyer also helps businesses and manufacturers nab impulse buyers by enabling both brands and retailers to push geo-targeted promotions and offers to shoppers in-store. According to AisleBuyer’s survey of CPG shopping behavior, nearly 75 percent of consumers would switch brands if offered real-time mobile promotions delivered to their smartphones while shopping in a store aisle. The least brand conscious group consists of 25-34 year-old shoppers, with 82 percent willing to switch brands if they received a mobile offer for a competing product while in the store.

4. Digital Gift Cards and Reward Wallets

This is one of the fastest-growing areas of mobile shopping apps. First there were the simple apps like Gyft and Tango that enabled users to essentially digitize their gift cards, keep them all in one place, and redeem them via an app. Then along came Sundrop Mobile, which creates “card-less” mobile loyalty program using a consumer’s mobile number as their “loyalty card,” text messaging with email for data collection and communication, and integrating loyalty programs with social media and location-based services.

Now along comes Apple’s Passbook app, which combines both functionalities into one app. So far Apple only has limited partners, but as that changes—and it surely will—Passbook will become a popular way for consumers to redeem gift cards and reward points, and a useful way for companies to grab those purchases, sell more gift cards, and manage loyalty programs that deliver large amounts of useful data with small investments of time and money.

5. Mobile Coupons

No matter which digital platform you’re talking about, coupons are an important consideration. A recent Accenture study found that a brand’s name and the word “discount” or “coupon” is typically the search term that most often brings consumers to a company website. In mobile, of course, the value of coupons is more direct—those that can be stored and redeemed via smartphone are poised to grab not only those buyers already looking for your product, but also to entice new customers. These days there are numerous mobile coupon apps, ranging from local deal app Groupon to catchall apps like CouponSherpa, which offers coupons for everything from Cheerios to movie tickets to a Brooks Brothers suit. According to AisleBuy’s CPG shopping survey, while 81 percent of smartphone owners go to grocery and drug stores prepared with a list of items to buy, only 8 percent list specific brands to purchase. In other words, well-timed coupon offers can result in major sales increases.


Authors: Tim Ross, President of SolutionSet and Peter Cloutier, President of CatapultRPM.

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