As we trap ourselves in a self-imposed quarantine to avert the terror of the COVID-19 global pandemic, grocery apps are suddenly emerging as saviors helping all confine themselves to the four walls of their abode. While everything else can wait, survival depends on the consumption of the essentials. Sourcing essentials can be cumbersome in the view of the social distancing mandate issued by authorities. No one should have to leave their homes and face the possibilities of being infected by the deadly coronavirus. Given that even governments across the world are publishing advisories and adopting strict preventive measures to ensure that people do not come out of their houses to break the chain of coronavirus, grocery apps are a welcome recluse. Terrified consumers wish to distance themselves socially, as much as they can, and are choosing to stay indoors.
Most grocery stores, especially in third world countries, operate without any specific guidelines or standard operating procedures. Shopping at grocery stores means close interactions between staff and customers, which is a clear breach of issued guidelines. Also, stores open for a stipulated period during the day, increasing the store traffic during those hours and increasing the chances of spread of disease. Some studies also suggest that the novel coronavirus may be airborne for up to a few hours before it actually settles down. Retail grocery store outlets offer closed environments. If an infected individual enters a grocery outlet, customers that visit the outlet after him stand a chance of inhaling the floating virus and get infected.
Moreover, the billing activity at the cash counter is risk-prone for customers during a pandemic like COVID-19. Both shoppers and staff come in close contact at the Point-of-Sale (PoS). Both handle the products and currencies with the same hands and increase the chances of virus spread.
Given the complexities associated with in-store grocery shopping, it’s time to step up the door-step deliveries for customers to contain the spread of the pandemic. There is a need to simplify back-end logistics to help food retailers such as Target, Walmart, Big Bazaar, Big Basket, Reliance, etc. in providing shopping services in cities and suburbs. Organized grocers and corporates can lead the unorganized grocery vendors through close collaborations. Shop-to-home drop-offs avoid close contacts, tantamounting to the success of grocery shopping apps. Grocery apps employ trained delivery personnel who visit multiple houses and leave the packet outside, minimizing the risk of virus spread. Further, they screen their delivery on a day-to-day basis to prevent them from getting infected. Grocery vendors who facilitate online grocery shopping enforce sanitization discipline among workers, avoid close contacts, facilitate digital payments, and contact-free home deliveries.
Ordering groceries through mobile apps is no less than a boon for consumers in the time of such pandemic. Grocery apps not only supply consumers with the daily essentials helping them maintain the distance socially, but also accept digital payments without any possibility of virus spread. However, the way we see the success of grocery shopping apps in western countries, there is an evident lack of infrastructure in developing countries to support the growth of online grocery shopping. Several small cities, villages, and remote areas lack adequate resources for last-mile deliveries, which hampers the growth of grocery apps.
A sudden surge in the number of grocery app downloads in the last quarter indicates the convenience they offer. However, still, some shoppers have raised concerns about the safety of receiving their orders online. Since studies show that the virus can live on surfaces from three hours to up to three days, depending on the material, they fear that online ordering may worsen the spread. But the chances that COVID-19 would survive on purchased items from the time they were packed to the time a package is delivered are bleak given the slowdown in the delivery system.
Once a user gets used to the various privileges that these grocery app vendors offer, users will likely be accustomed enough to use them post the pandemic is over. To ensure safe delivery of grocery products to customers, grocery apps work closely with a panel of health and safety experts to develop guidelines for hassle-free last-mile delivery. For example, ‘Leave at My Door Delivery’ or ‘Contactless Delivery’ system is adopted by many vendors to provide a more safe option for customers. However, when the pandemic is over, customers may appreciate the flexibility that this kind of delivery offers.
Given the global nature of COVID-19 pandemic and home quarantine that most of us are required to serve, it is evident that grocery stores are seeing a rise in demand for delivery options. According to a recent Apptopia March 2020 report, Instacart, Walmart Grocery, Shipt, and Target represented an increase of 218%, 160%, 124%, and 98%, respectively, over the average number of daily downloads in February. Since we are living in a mobile-first economy, it’s a better idea to have a grocery app than to have a grocery e-commerce website.
Most people indeed turn to brands they trust and love most and choose them as their go-to resource center during emergencies. Prevalence of fear and uncertainty forces consumers to look for brands they already are involved with. Thus, it should be a prerogative of grocery brands to cater to a virtual shopping experience to their customers in the form of easy to use mobile apps. Having a grocery shopping app also allows vendors to customize the mobile shopping experience for each customer and please them.
People are really changing what they’re buying and how. With lockdown extensions, nonessential businesses are all coming to a haul. Customers are limiting their shopping for all but essentials. Brands, for example, grocery businesses, need to quickly adapt and be flexible to meet the changing needs of the times. There are different types of grocery apps that one can develop. Before jumping straight onto grocery app development, business owners need to decide what kind of shopping experience they want to build.
a.) Grocery Chain Store Apps
Big grocery moguls and chain stores go for these kinds of on-demand delivery apps to serve their customer service requirements. These apps are highly popular among customers because they stock a wide range of household items and seldom go out of stock on essentials. Plus, because their scale of operation is extensive, they offer the flexibility of choosing delivery slots that appeal to customer’s preferences.
b.) Grocery Shopping Marketplace Apps
A grocery shopping marketplace app features a list of competing online grocery vendors offering a more extensive range of products and brands on one shelf. Such apps employ their delivery staff to get ordered items delivered to a customers’ place in time. Customers appreciate the variety these apps offer and how they can compare prices on different products from different vendors on a single platform. Amazon is the best example that comes to mind when we talk about marketplace apps.
c.) Specific Facility Grocery Delivery App
Sometimes, even specific facility owners might feel the need to develop applications for their grocery businesses. Such suppliers need to manage various stages of mobile shopping like app operations, updating your online catalogs, dealing with in-app along with in-store purchases, etc. Since most of these apps make deliveries in confined areas, users appreciate the timeliness of deliveries they make.
What makes a grocery shopping app stand out amidst a crowd is the additional conveniences that it offers its users to polish their experience. Here are some features that can be used to escalate the user experience on a grocery shopping app:
1. Order Simplification for Recurring Orders
Apps should make it way easier for users to place repeat orders and check out. Such features work when customers choose systematically bought products, which the app suggests using previous purchase history. Not only does it enhance users’ online shopping experience, but it also streamlines the grocery shopping process.
2. Premium Package
Offering premium packages to customers is a reliable approach to increase retention rates for the app. Such packages incentivize frequent buyers who think they deserve some treat for their loyalty. Get creative with loyalty discounts, free goodies, and subscription boxes to make a customer feel privileged.
3. Wishlist Feature
Creating wishlists is more than just wishful thinking. A wishlist feature on a grocery shopping app allows customers to desirable add items to the cart. Users often include an item on their wishlist when they are not ready to purchase it but would like to so that in the future. Grocery businesses can push these products through personalized marketing campaigns to users that serve as reminders for purchase.
4. Voice Recognition
Sometimes, users may want to create a grocery shopping list without wanting to type anything. Voice recognition on a grocery app is much faster and more convenient than typing.
5. Smart Organizer Feature
A smart organizer feature can bring considerable benefits to your grocery app. Users can group the products they would like to purchase like fruits, vegetables, etc. and order different groups at different times as and when needed. For example, a family may buy non-perishables like pulses and cereals once a month but would buy fruits every third day. An in-app organizing feature helps them segregate their lists.
6. Prices Comparison Feature
Grocery shopping mobile applications can also allow customers to compare the pricing of different products from different brands or with the supermarkets nearby, presenting the audience with the most beneficial options. This can also increase customer loyalty towards an app.
We are a generation continually looking out for solutions that save our resources like time and money. When there is a solution in the market that syncs into our daily routines flawlessly and helps optimize our day to day schedules, we adapt it desirably. As a big chunk of homemakers get jobs, they need solutions that cater to multiple housework issues, making them manageable. A grocery shopping app allows users to prepare virtual grocery shopping lists, helping them remember what all is needed, and ordering them quickly online. Such an app is also a huge plus for someone who can not shop around freely. With convenient delivery options, grocery apps become indispensable for users who cannot pick up what they’ve ordered from the supermarket.
We at Promatics are a team of experienced app developers. We have been in business with some of the most prominent players in the industry and combine modern technical expertise with our knowledge of consumer behavior to create app products that dominate the markets—thinking of getting a grocery app for your business? Reach out to us.
Promatics is an ISO 9001:2008 certified offshore web and mobile application development company with a strong team of 100+ highly skilled IT experts delighting SMEs across USA, Europe and APAC. Our services and solutions help clients to achieve tangible business value and remain competitive in today’s evolving marketplaces.