- Regional grocer Woodman’s Food Markets is testing a mobile app across its 16-store system that aims to help shoppers find healthier options while earning rewards. Shoppers can earn cash and other perks through in-store purchases and social engagement with the app, according to Progressive Grocer.
- The app developer, myUpside, partners with other regional retailers and independent grocers. These partnerships allow the program to reach shoppers with a turnkey solution that the company says increases shopper visits, purchase frequency and basket size.
- Jeff Sampson, CEO of myUpside, said Woodman’s consumer base is “passionate about better-for-you brands.” He told Progressive Grocer that “rather than depend on the transactional approach – think coupons, rebates, temporary price reductions – our community is embracing the language of experiences and personalization."
Consumers have expressed a desire to eat healthier and this app may help them. It also encourages people to engage more heavily with the brand. myUpside’s CEO says the app increases visits and drives “strong emotional affinity” between consumers and brands.
Other incentivizing apps have experienced such benefits. Shopkick found consumers spend nearly $30 more per visit than non-users, and experienced higher traffic and engagement. In addition to the incentives — including cash, Green Bay Packers tickets and spa packages — the myUpside app has a deeper appeal in helping consumers on their health journeys. This makes the connection a bit more personal, which could be a major driver toward adoption. According to a recent report from Epsilon, 90% of consumers indicate they find personalization from brands appealing.
In addition, this app can help consumers who are seeking healthier options to clear a big hurdle. At the recent Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Science Forum, Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, a professor of nutritional sciences at Rutgers, said consumers want to eat healthier, but they’re confused on how to do so.
“When they were asked about how easy it was to figure out how to eat healthfully, half said it was easier to do their taxes,” she said in the Food Navigator story. The biggest hindrance is information that is presented in a way that consumers are not able to use, she added.
This myUpside app could make some of that information more accessible.
The app’s healthy, personal and incentivizing features could help Woodman’s pull some consumers away from big brands like Walmart or Amazon. How many, however, is another story. Are better-for-you products the main driver of a grocery trip, or is price or convenience? The answer is likely somewhere in between.
Woodman’s will have to put in some effort to educate consumers about the app, how it works and how they can benefit. The company also will have to give them a reason to stick to it – about 21% of users abandon an app after one use. Since Woodman’s already has a robust brand app, the incentives will have to be enticing enough for consumers to want add another related to the brand.
As grocery stores look for ways to make themselves stand out among their peers, retail discounters and web giants such as Amazon, connecting with consumers on health has proven to be a popular way. Some retailers have responded to food-related health issues by adding staff dietitians and offering in-store clinics that can guide customers toward healthier offerings. Publix recently partnered with a Florida healthcare system to provide in-store "telehealth" rooms where customers can connect with off-site doctors and other treatment providers.
And then there is simply carrying more fruits and vegetables in order to appeal to consumers looking to increase their consumption of healthier, better-for-you foods and beverages. Even though some consumers may be able to adopt healthier eating habits on their own, others may need some encouragement, and options like this app may be one such tool to do that, while fostering additional grocer loyalty at the same time.