martijn bertisen quote web

I have lived in the UK for many years, but when I started house-hunting recently I realised how people here are obsessed with home ownership; whereas in other countries renting is seen as a perfectly viable alternative.

Supermarkets and grocery stores also own and rent property and I would place a brand’s apps or websites in the ‘owned property’ category because they are built, branded and populated with content by their owner. On the other hand, the ‘rented properties’ include social media or online marketplaces.

So how should grocers and fmcg brands go about dusting off their owned mobile properties to maximise their potential?

Apps are traditionally thought of as a tool to create a stronger relationship with the customer - if a shopper downloads your app then your brand has a permanent presence in their pocket. To benefit your business, an app needs to be both useful and used, so think hard about what will give your potential shoppers genuine value. If you can identify your customers’ passions or problems and provide solutions, then you are building solid foundations for growth. Shoppers may want practical information, such as store location and opening hours, or to be inspired with new recipes that reflect the veg in season.

Think about where you can remove hurdles in the shopping journey or provide relevant inspiration through an app and you may well earn the right to be downloaded and used. Can you help shoppers with an easier process for booking delivery times, making amends to orders, or checking the availability of produce in-store?

Personalisation is key for app take-up and shoppers will favour those apps that remember their preferences and provide a relevant service for them to use frequently. Great examples of good practice can be found in the Asda, Ocado and Tesco groceries apps, designed so customers can log in on any screen and pick up where they left off.

If you do have a great app, make sure you tell your customers, too. Tesco invested in a Google Universal App campaign to increase downloads of its groceries app in the run-up to Christmas and saw a fivefold rise in installs as a result. Retailers who deliver a great customer experience via their app and promote it should benefit from an increase in loyalty, customer spend and shopping frequency. A recent study of consumers who had installed retail apps found 51% of them had spent up to £100 via the app in the past 30 days.

However, the majority of mobile sales still come from shopping on the web and in my next column I’ll outline some of the key things retailers can do to optimise this channel.

Martjin Bertisen is country sales director at Google UK