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August 10, 2021
"Clean-up on aisle three"? Not anymore. A decade ago, the thought of buying fresh groceries online seemed almost unthinkable to most people. Today though, more than one-third of global shoppers spend close to $2.5 trillion every year on their groceries – groceries they've purchased online.
From the very first online food order – placed with a Pizza Hut in 1994 – to Walmart's dethroning of Amazon as the king of the eGrocers, mobile grocery apps are finding their way onto mobile devices faster than ever before. Add to this the industry-changing effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the world, and it's no surprise that grocery shopping is fast becoming an online affair.
These apps have allowed grocery stores to take their products beyond their sliding doors and into the palms of millions of new customers worldwide. By combining the convenience afforded by technology with the demand from shoppers for more options in buying their groceries, grocers are seeing a new era where online purchasing meets fresh produce.
This article examines what it takes to ensure that your eGrocery app is doing what it needs to succeed. We look at what these features do and how they work to enhance your overall application. Here are 15 must-have features that will have your app successfully checking out happy clients in no time.
If you've ever wandered around a physical grocery trying to find that one item but simply can't because it just isn't where it's supposed to be, you'll know how frustrating this is.
The same goes for your eGrocery app – a badly-cataloged product list will chase customers off about as quickly as a rat in the fresh fruit section. List and catalog your grocery products in a logical manner, and build in faceted and advanced search features that allow users to filter down their search parameters. You can also speed up searches with auto-suggestions, enable customers to add searched items directly to their carts, and offer 'similar products' or 'other people also bought' options to give unsure shoppers a hand.
While the shopping card might be the last step in the customer's grocery store app journey, it is among the most critical of all eGrocery app features. Like their plastic or steel counterparts, carts carry the customers' chosen goods to checkout and should be created with convenience and speed in mind. The shopping cart should show the cumulative total price, including discounts, and customers must be able to check out in one click.
One of the most important recent features of the eGrocery app is allowing customers to sync their own shopping lists from apps like AnyList or Flipp to your app, or – better still – to develop your own shopping list feature for the app itself.
With the ever-increasing number of payment options available to customers growing by the day, keep your app up to date with varied payments options. Besides allowing one-click checkout, adding secure payment portals featuring multiple payment providers is vital.
Allow customers to pay via cash, credit card, digital wallets, or through online payment providers like PayPal. Integrate multiple payment gateways like Stripe, Google Pay, and don't forget to keep these loyal customers locked in by allowing them to redeem coupons or to use collected loyalty points when paying.
A key benefit of eGrocery services is that your app doubles as a grocery pickup app as well as a grocery delivery app. In the case of the latter, customers will want their goods sooner rather than later. Groceries can’t spend too much time on the road or in storage (unless refrigerated) and people need to be home to receive their goods, so allowing shoppers to keep track of their orders is imperative.
Empower your grocery delivery app by adding a live geo-location tracking capability and instant updates that keep customers in the loop, while push notifications and information on the delivery company being used will ensure that your grocery mobile app order tracking feature ticks all the boxes.
Whether accidentally ordering an item they didn't intend to or changing their mind after the fact, your eGrocery app must allow customers to modify their order after payment.
Ensure that your order modification policies are clearly stated and that the procedure to be followed is not an overly complex one. While order modification elements can be a challenge – especially if a modification request comes through after processing - they are essential user experience boosters. To overcome time challenges, companies like Frisco, for example, give customers a deadline to make any changes before it's too late.
The ever-reliable email is still the go-to method of communication when it comes to eGrocery apps. When registering, customers are typically required to enter their email addresses for verification and log-in purposes.
Armed with this data, eGrocery apps can use these addresses to send emails, keeping customers informed of everything from special deals and marketing to service updates, order statuses, and payment confirmations.
Beyond email, users who sign up using their mobile numbers can choose to have information and notifications sent to them via SMS. This cheap and straightforward communication medium is a handy feature when sending out mass notifications to large groups of clients or for backup when emails are not doing the job.
SMS’s are perfect notifications for reminders on orders and upcoming deliveries and are also a great way for customers to reach out to customer support and as a security verification method.
Every so often, your grocery store app may run into problems or experience a glitch. When this happens, you will need a reliable customer support structure to keep clients happy. Depending on the size of your eGrocery company, you can pick between a 24/7 chatbot or live agents answering questions and helping out.
All good customer support resources are well integrated with CRM systems, allowing you to take full advantage of what your CS solution has to offer. Speedy responses keep people happy, and stored information from previous engagements allow for that resolution time to be dramatically reduced.
As the primary method of eGrocery app communications, push notifications have become integral to effective marketing and communications strategies. Without them, customers would soon forget to read important messages that often get lost and forgotten about.
Adding push notifications to your grocery mobile app will ensure that the most important messages regarding coupons, sales, and new products are sent regularly, allowing your customers to take action and advantage of your unbeatable promotions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen click and collect explode around the world. An effective alternative to costly, delay-prone deliveries, C&C is quickly becoming the shopping method of choice for grocery mobile app users.
With more and more people making their purchases online and then collecting them in-store, grocery pickup apps are growing in popularity. Depending on your customers' grocery needs, you can choose to make use of either:
Every time an eGrocery app user makes a purchase, their activity and shopping details are stored. So, why not take advantage of this useful and information and use it to reward the customers who support you the most?
Loyalty programs can be easily added to your grocery store app via dedicated modules that allow customers to keep track of their accumulated points and rewards, redeem them at their leisure, and take advantage of special promos and discount offers.
Cart Sharing allows customers to share their digital shopping carts and lists with friends and family through the grocery store app. This innovative feature lets multiple shoppers add to carts, remove items, and save time and energy by collectively getting their shopping done. Considering that 6 in 10 online shoppers begin shopping on one device but finish on another, it's unsurprising that cart abandonment rates are such a problem.
Cart sharing benefits both the customer and eGrocer:
Social media is a resource that cannot be ignored. Much like one-click checkout, people are looking for ways to get their shopping done faster, without compromising on safety. Social media provides a log-in method that avoids unnecessary sign-up forms and hard-to-remember individual passwords.
A grocery store app integrated with social media platforms gives users safe, quick login access to their eGrocery platform at the click of a button. Besides the convenience offered, social media plug-ins and integration also open up valuable communication and marketing channels.
Every customer is different, with specific needs. A product comparison feature is a great way to list all of the products that your grocery app carries and allows customers to compare them before making a selection without having to leave the app.
Think about including comparison options that extend beyond the price of an item, like reviews, sizes, and nutritional information. Product comparison features can dramatically enhance the customer experience by allowing your clients to make a more informed decision and can even lead to an increase in sales.
As eGrocery store apps evolve, so too are the opportunities for them to partner with other app-powered services. For example, Gorillas is an innovative approach to grocery deliveries – akin to Uber for shopping.
People can sign up as riders and deliver groceries to customers within 10 minutes of placing an order. Innovations like these are emerging every day, adding to a more engaged and enriched customer experience.
Successful grocery mobile apps need the right combination of features, all working in tandem to deliver a seamless, easy-to-use digital grocery store experience to customers. From listing products in an understandable, organized way to keeping shoppers coming back through rewards and loyalty programs, eGrocery apps are bringing grocers and customers closer together.
While the grocery store apps of giants like Amazon and Walmart have been dominating the market for years, click and collect, innovative grocery pickup apps, COVID-19, and a broader market of consumers have combined in allowing smaller players to enter the field, reinvigorating how people shop for their everyday goods online.
Armed with creative features like these, the future of the eGrocery app is looking very bright indeed.
At New Gravity, we’ve helped tens of businesses emerge in the eCommerce space – we’d love to discuss how we can assist yours. Reach out!
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