Why More Grocery Chains Need to Go Mobile or Risk Missing Out

Online grocery shopping has evolved unprecedentedly in the last three years, a fast evolution accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, more customers discovered the convenience and efficiency of shopping for groceries during mandatory lockdowns and social distancing. Today, the affordability of shopping online, the convenience of mobile apps, and the effects of inflation keep them. This is according to data tracking company Apptopia.

The digital online revolution continues to disrupt every facet of society. How people shop for groceries is just one of them. The American grocery store industry reached a value of $811 billion in 2022. It is growing at a rate of 4.5%. The click-and-collect grocery shopping category is the most promising. It grows at a rate of 15.1%. It is higher than the overall retail eCommerce sales at 10.5%.

But why is the app-based click-and-collect quickly emerging as the most preferred way to shop today? The answer may not surprise you: millennial shopping habits.

Research and Markets recently released a comprehensive report on the US online grocery market that concluded that the greater penetration and adoption of smartphones is a major defining factor of the future of online grocery shopping. This is supported by a Hubspot report revealing that 77% of Millennials prefer to shop for groceries right on their phones.

Grocery shopping apps are now more popular and necessary than ever. Grocery chain stores that do not have an online ordering app are missing out on a growing market as competitors scramble for a new type of customer. This blog will dive deeper to analyze why the popularity of online grocery shopping apps is over the roof, what this means for the future of the online grocery shopping market, and why every grocery chain in the United States needs to consider an online shopping app to survive in 2023.

Types of Grocery Apps

To understand the evolution of the online grocery store market, we must first know the major types of apps and which shopper problems they alleviated. Here is a bird's eye view of the top three grocery shopping apps.

1. Shopping List App

This is an app that serves as an alternative to pen and paper. Shoppers use this app to note down what items they need before making a trip to the store. The shopping list app saves them time and effort. They can add or remove items from the list wherever they are and whenever they remember to.

Some of the best grocery shopping list apps are made by grocery stores. Some of the whistles and bells these apps come with include:

  • In-app ads for items the grocery store sells.
  • Ad-free upgrade option
  • Favorite common and popular items
  • track prices of items over time
  • Calculate the total prices and taxes of items on the shopping list

2. Price Comparison App

Inflation has driven the prices of groceries up. Consequently, most consumers are doing all they can to cut costs and save money without compromising on the quality of the products they buy. The most effective way for them to achieve this is to look out for lower prices and discounts when grocery stores offer them.

A price comparison app is designed to compare the prices of an item from different stores conveniently. The best of these apps also provide updates for offers, hot deals, and coupons that lower the prices of specific items. Forward-looking stores are leveraging the price comparison trend. It is to release apps that compare prices for similar items from different brands. This goes a long way to encourage shoppers to save money without shopping elsewhere.

3. Grocery Delivery App

Today's shoppers enjoy the convenience of never having to leave their homes to shop. A significant bottleneck in the eCommerce ecosystem is often delivery. Considering how delicate groceries are and how they must be handled with care and delivered fast has prevented many stores from offering delivery themselves.

Grocery delivery apps filled this void in a big way. They allow the consumer to shop online and then collect and deliver their packages. The main selling point of these apps is that customers can shop from multiple stores and have them all delivered at the same time.

What Is Driving the Popularity of Grocery Apps?

The internet has provided fascinating access to new ways to do almost anything wherever there is a connection. The convenience of never forgetting groceries while heading home from work is not the only reason that shapes online grocery shopping. Here are the other most notable drivers of the evolution of online grocery shopping.

1. Convenience and Time Saving

Modern life is fast paced. Today's shopper does not have the luxury of sitting in traffic to and from the grocery store, navigating through the crowds to find what they want, pushing broken shopping carts, the never-ending queues, and returning the cart. Instead, they order on the phone wherever they are, whenever it is most convenient for them, and in just a few taps.

2. Cost Saving

Grocery shopping apps help consumers save money in many ways. Today's most popular grocery shopping apps offer better ways to collect and redeem loyalty points and more convenient access to special offers and discounts. Besides, shoppers save money on the gas they would use to drive to the store as, over time, these costs add up significantly.

3. Item Favorites, Wish Lists, and Repeats

The best shopping apps in the market make it easy for the shopper to favorite items they like and create wish lists of items they intend to buy. The apps may also make it easy to find items bought in the past and save the shopper time on recurring orders.

4. Pre-ordering Popular Products

Some popular items and products come in season and run out of stock fast. Shoppers who use a grocery app can enjoy a grocery store app feature that allows them to pre-order or book a popular item in advance to be alerted when it is available. This is projected to be one of the most advanced and useful features of grocery shopping apps in 2023.

5. Personalized Marketing and Offers

Today's apps make it easy to collect, store, analyze, and compare all kinds of data. To the shopper, the option to create a profile and personalize their shopping experience based on its data is very useful. This feature enables the chain store to optimize its marketing campaigns and provide customer-specific services, support, and product recommendations.

6. Secure Payments

Shoppers concerned with their personal and payment information often prefer to use an app over the browser when making payments. They know modern apps to be safer and more secure, especially if they use them to make all other cashless payments. Thanks to geolocation features, an app also makes it practical to use a pay-on-delivery method when paying with cash.

7. The Shopping Experience

According to a recent survey, a whopping 51% of millennials would switch shopping brands if a competitor offered better digital services. It is easy for them to download and install grocery store apps from multiple chain stores to try out services and find one that offers the best experience. A chain store can retain and attract new customers by merely optimizing its app for smooth and hassle-free shopping.

How an App Can Benefit a Grocery Chain in 2023

Here are the most important ways a well-designed and built grocery mobile app can benefit a grocery chain today.

1. It Makes Tracking and Analyzing Customer Behavior Easier

Every business needs to know its customers well to conduct a profitable business. One of the most critical data points to track and analyze is customer buying behavior and patterns. They can then optimize their marketing and product selection to promote customer satisfaction and increase sales.

An app makes tracking detailed customer behavior and drawing conclusive patterns easier. For instance, it is easier to know how frequently a specific type of customer orders an item and whether they compare prices with other products before making a purchase. Information from the customer's filter wish list, cart items, and search history can help optimize the grocery chain's marketing campaigns.

2. Running Loyalty and Special Offer Programs Are More Efficient

Grocery stores depend on repeat customers to stay afloat and succeed. There are many ways to nurture customer loyalty. None is as effective as basing loyalty on the customer's actual personal data. Users are more comfortable providing such information as their age, gender, and location on their mobile devices than anywhere else.

A grocery store chain can leverage the capabilities of a mobile app to optimize its loyalty and special offer programs. With the proper data analysis tools, they can deploy a simple shopping app. It will help them discover new shopping patterns and behaviors that could revolutionize their business.

3. Helps with Building a Brand Image

A mobile app is a boon to building a brand image. The reason is that the relationship between the brand and a user is a welcome cycle if it happens on a mobile app. In addition, a mobile app offers the opportunity for a brand to impact how the customer perceives it and to prove the sophistication of the chain.

A grocery chain store with a mobile app will find it easier to engage with its customers, understand their needs, and find the right solutions. This is a sure way to demonstrate a brand's commitment to quality service and customer satisfaction. In theory, it would go a long way to building a progressive image that nurtures confidence in the brand.

Go for a Complete Grocery App Solution

The future of retail grocery shopping is mobile. Is your store keeping up with the new trends? Are you ready to target the modern customer who relies on a smartphone for almost everything, including shopping?

The right grocery shopping app should complement the nature of your business. That said, there are a handful of ways to get the right online grocery shopping app today. It should be well designed and built, delivered fast and on budget, and available on all the most popular app stores globally with a single subscription.

While getting the right app for your grocery chain, it is important to delegate the entire development process - from ideation to ongoing success - to a single development platform such as Bryj.

The Bryj platform powers apps with a single source solution that seamlessly connects enterprise systems providing intelligent analytics and Al, advanced UX marketing tools, an app studio configurator, and a world-class customer experience.

With Bryj, you can trust that your business has everything you need to launch and maintain a successful mobile app without the stress of needing dev teams and outsourced agencies.


Are you ready to have your world-class grocery shopping app made? Take advantage of Bryj's ongoing support of its tech and expert team so you never have to worry about future OS or device changes, app store publishing, monitoring, or security. Make the time to talk to an expert and learn more about how your business can benefit from a well-made app with built-in AI CX tools and analytics.