CHICAGO -- Supermarkets can use apps to drive consumer affinity for their stores, according to a study from Match ShopLab and Novartis Consumer Health.

“Smartphones are a fantastic way to drive engagement,” said Cheryl Policastro, Novartis’ director of shopper marketing and insights, said in a session yesterday at the Shopper Marketing Expo.


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About 20% of consumers have downloaded a food store app, according to the study, based on 2,340 primary household shoppers. The majority of these use them regularly, at least twice a month.

Most supermarket app users have one to three children in the household, and are between the ages of 24 and 44. They also have higher than average income and education.

A strong majority (80%) said they use food store apps for coupons; 57%, specials (respondents could choose more than one answer).

“Overwhelmingly, it has to do with saving money,” said Liz Crawford, vice president of strategy and insights, Match ShopLab, a shopper-marketing firm.

A strong majority also said they use apps to have “fun.”

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Of those who don’t use a supermarket app, 71% said they didn’t know they existed. That shows that retailers should promote the benefits of their apps.

Of those who knew about the app, but didn’t download it, nearly one-quarter (24%) said the benefits aren’t worthwhile.

As for complaints about apps, 48% said they are too slow; 29%, too time-consuming.

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Among the features they want supermarket apps to have: more rewards, automatic coupon loading, more personalized offers and a price comparison tool.

Retailers who want to boost app usage should provide faster speed, frequent rewards and new reasons for engagement, according to the study.

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