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Homeland Stores’ mcommerce pilot off to a good start

Regional supermarket chain Homeland Stores is piloting a new mobile payments service that has already been downloaded by 1,500 customers and yielded $55,000 in goods.

Homeland Stores worked with DoubleBeam to launch the new system in 20 of its 78 locations, and it plans to add 26 more by the end of October. Since the June launch, the mobile payments pilot has seen a positive reception from the supermarket’s consumers.

“As the local grocer we focus our efforts on trying to provide our customers with unique services that they will not find with anyone else,” said Philip Payment, vice president of marketing and merchandising at Homeland Stores, Oklahoma City. “Our customer loyalty card brings a great deal of extra benefits to our customers including extra savings and chances to win various giveaways throughout the year.

“This mobile payment application is taking those unique offerings a step further,” he said. “Not only are we trying to make it easier on the customer by providing them with an application that combines many of their pre-shopping rituals and their in-lane activities, such as making shopping lists before going to the store or scanning their loyalty card at check-out, but we are also offering them the extra benefit of bonus fuel rewards and in turn extra savings at the pump.

“This application is a wonderful way to set ourselves apart from the competition while at the same time offering our customers the convenience and savings they are looking for.”

Homeland Stores has locations in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas.

The Homeland Stores pilot featured a new application called Homeland SwiftScan that let consumers pay for purchases with their smartphone.

Once consumers download the app, they can take a picture of a check and a photo ID to activate the payments option. Then at the store, consumers can scan a QR code at the register to pay for groceries.

Within three months of the initial pilot, 1,500 consumers have downloaded the app and have collectively spent $55,000 on goods using a smartphone.

To incentivize using the new mobile payments system, Homeland Stores is offering a $0.20 per gallon discount on participating Homeland or Shell gas stations every time a consumer purchases at least $25 worth of groceries via the app.

“Fuel is our differentiator and we have seen great success with past promotions that included bonus fuel rewards,” Mr. Payment said. “Fuel rewards is a currency that speaks to all of our customers and generates a great deal of excitement throughout our stores.

“When a customer downloads this application and starts earning $.20 in bonus fuel for each transaction of $25 or more that adds up quickly,” he said. “That customer can then go and tell their friends and family how much they saved the last time they filled up because they used this great new app from Homeland.

“Nothing can come close to comparing to how powerful that word of mouth advertisement is, especially when it relates to something like fuel where people pride themselves on how little they paid for it.”

Additionally, consumers can use the app to locate stores, view weekly specials, create shopping lists and receive exclusive discounts.

Mobile groceries
The goal of the new mobile system was to save consumers time and money during their grocery shopping experience.

Other grocery stores have also been experimenting with mobile payments.

For example, mid-Atlantic grocery chain Harris Teeter has been testing a mobile wallet system to allow consumers to pay for groceries ordered online (see story).

ShopRite also rolled out a mobile commerce app this year to let users place an order and schedule a time for delivery or pick-up (see story).

Additionally, Wegman’s updated their app earlier this year to help consumers build shopping lists and save time and money (see story).

“In developing the application for Homeland Stores, we wanted to provide their customers with a great mobile tool that could help them save time and money while shopping for groceries,” said Ted Tekippe, CEO for DoubleBeam, Pasadena, CA.

“Homeland can offer these great rewards because of the money they save off transaction fees versus credit card interchange,” he said. “When a customer pays with the Homeland SwiftScan mobile app, DoubleBeam’s payment service draws funds directly from the customer’s bank account.

“Using the account and routing numbers captured during signup, DoubleBeam creates a virtual image of a check – an echeck – that gets deposited electronically into the merchants bank account. Funds clear as quickly as the next business day, and best of all these transactions are up to 80 percent cheaper than the cost of some credit card programs.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York