Food and medicine are the categories that see the least smartphone
usage for research and shopping, according to an online survey from
Omnicom Media Group and Microsoft. Phones are used more for
shopping for entertainment products, restaurants and consumer
"You see more scan-and-scram when you're buying a TV than when
you're trying to save a $1 on Kleenex," said Daniel Blackburn,
VP-mobile for interactive agency Rosetta's Level Studios.
Sixty-five percent of the 3,500 shoppers in five global markets
wanted their cellphones to find in-store promotions, according to
Omnicom's survey. Making shopping lists and finding items in stores
are also top mobile priorities.
In recognition of this, last month, Catalina, the company that
powers loyalty programs for 30,000 stores nationwide (including
those coupons at checkout), acquired mobile commerce company Modiv
Modiv, now Catalina Mobile, is behind mobile apps in 110 of
Ahold USA's Stop & Shop stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island
and Connecticut. Here's how it works: A shopper walks into the
store, opens the store-branded app and receives offers based on
their shopping history. To skip the line at checkout, shoppers can
scan barcodes of items they put into the cart to buy the haul right
on the phone. Catalina says the app will be available in 200 more
Stop & Shops this summer.
The Ahold partnership predated Modiv's acquisition by Catalina,
which operates in more than 85 U.S. chains, including Target ,
Kroger and Safeway, and distributes coupons for major
packaged-goods brands. Catalina reaches 75% of U.S. households
across 30,000 stores, said Todd Morris, the company's exec VP-brand
development and marketing innovation.
Its focus remains on using mobile to change purchase behavior in
stores, rather than warding off online grocers such as Fresh
Direct. "Sure, I'll use Red Laser to compare prices on electronics,
but no one's going to do that with a box of cereal," said Mr.
Morris of the price-comparison app eBay acquired in 2010.
"The whole use case of scanning dozens of boxes of Cheerios to
see which is cheaper is a little silly," said Dhana Pawar,
director-mobile product management at Coupons.com, which updated
its Grocery iQ mobile app this month.
Coupons.com, a behemoth in digital coupons that 's raised $285
million in funding over the past several years, focuses on bringing
packaged-goods brands into the list-making process with an app
called Grocery iQ. In the first quarter, 71% of shoppers made their
lists at home, according to the SymphonyIRI MarketPulse survey.
Shoppers create lists in the app by scanning barcodes or typing
in entries, then the app organizes those items by aisle. The most
recent update ports coupons into the search tool so that , say, a
shopper may add one brand of yogurt to the list over another
because Coupons.com offers 50¢ off. Coupons.com reports that
Grocery iQ has "millions" of downloads and active users use it
three to four times a week. It's also added brand advertising:
Hormel has sponsored the meat and seafood tab in the app.
To redeem coupons from the app, users can email coupons to print
at home or sync the app with their loyalty cards at participating
stores, including Safeway, so savings are automatically deducted at