Retailers should embrace mobile technology to make it convenient for consumers to access meal planning information, said speakers during "The Future of Mobile: Influencing the Path to Purchase" session at the Shopper Marketing Summit, Tuesday.


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“Mobile [marketing] and grocery is not coming; it’s here,” said Manuel Rosso, VP of commerce platforms at Scripps Network Interactive, which develops lifestyle content for Internet and TV. “Consumer behavior has completely changed how [retailers] engage.”

Rosso is also the creator and CEO of Food to the Table, a recipe/meal planning website and app recently acquired by Scripps, owners of Food Network and The Food Channel. Rosso said the inspiration for the website was watching grocery shoppers use cell phones to call friends and family with questions about ingredients and recipes. He said that one-third of grocery shoppers use a mobile device in-store.

Jill Kristle, manager of Interactive Marketing, ConAgra“The cell phone really changed how people behave inside the grocery store,” Rosso said. “And now with smart phones, they have what is the equivalent of a super mini computer.”

Nearly 20% of all media time is spent on mobile and tablet devices, said Jill Kristle, manager of interactive marketing at ConAgra, a figure that’s doubling every year. Mobile devices also account for 55% of all Internet usage.

“There’s a huge opportunity for reaching consumers in the mobile space. The dollars follow the eyeballs,” she said.

Rosso added that successful mobile marketing includes engaging shoppers in the complete lifecycle of meal preparation: from selecting recipes to making grocery lists and shopping, to cooking. There is also a greater chance that consumers will buy recipe ingredients when all of the information they need is in one place.

“You don’t want to get the consumer out of the path to purchase. That consumer is ready to buy and you want them to do that without any distractions,” he said.

Consumers use mobile devices like smart phones and tablets differently, and marketing strategies should reflect these differences, Rosso and Kristle said. For instance, 80% of tablets are used at home for conducting in-depth purchase research. Consumers spend more time on mobile devices, but make decisions on them on the go.

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