Consumers who don’t use their smartphones for grocery shopping are part of a shrinking minority. A recent study found that 86% of consumers now use their mobile devices to prepare for shopping trips. However, few Food manufacturers have adapted to the changing times.
Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, and Kraft are among a few brands that increased their digital investments last year, launching sophisticated mobile apps or amplifying their email marketing efforts. Yet the industry as a whole remains sluggish in digital. Here are three areas in which food brands are dramatically underinvesting, according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food:
So much for scribbling a shopping list on the nearest scrap of paper: 58% percent of surveyed consumers used a grocery shopping app in 2014. However, few food brands have developed such apps. A mere 19% of Index brands maintain an iOS app, according to the L2 study – and only one-third of those have been updated in the past year. Many also lack key features that would make them useful shopping tools. Only 28% let users create shopping lists, and barely 6% offer access to coupons.
If coupons aren’t on brand apps, where are they? Where they’ve always been, it seems. Last year, more than 85% of food coupons were distributed as traditional paper inserts.
This fails to reflect changing consumer behavior. Nearly 70% of smartphone-using grocery shoppers use their devices to search for coupons, yet Food brands have little to offer them. Only 17% of Index brands offer coupons on their sites, a decrease from 20% last year.
Some brands offer coupons on e-tailers, but these investments are inconsistent. For example, 36% of Index brands issue coupons on Walmart.com, while only 14% offer them on Amazon.
More food brands have made the move towards email marketing: 78% of Index brands offer email signup, an increase from 62% last year. However, one-third of those brands failed to send a single email, and another 13% only sent an introductory welcome message.
Again, that handful of messages contains barely any coupons, despite growing evidence that shoppers welcome emails that would help them save money. In a survey, 64% of consumers said they had printed coupons from their inbox that they planned to redeem offline. Yet the L2 study found that only 4% of brand marketing emails included coupons or discounts. The majority of emails focused on recipes or marketing campaigns or invited consumers to shop with a call-to-action.