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Hy-Vee lets consumers shop produce via commerce-enabled iPhone app

Grocery store chain Hy-Vee Inc. has rolled out an iPhone application that lets users place orders from its bakery, catering and floral departments to pick up in-store or have delivered. 

Additionally, the Hy-Vee app includes weekly deals, geo-location and commerce-enabled features. Hy-Vee worked with mobile search service aisle411 on this initiative. 

“We like to connect with our consumers in ways that are most useful to them,” said Ruth Comer, assistant vice president of media relations at Hy-Vee, West Des Moines, IA

“The feedback we got was that the like having information right at fingertips at the point-of-sale and the app is another way to get information to them at their command when and where they want it,” she said.

Hy-Vee is a chain of grocery stores that operates 235 locations in eight Midwest states, including Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri.

Shopping companion
The app uses GPS to find the closest Hy-Vee location for users.

Users can then view driving directions, hours and call specific stores via the app.

Once consumers set a store preference, they can view a map of the store and find specific items by typing in product keywords.

The app also uses voice recognition to let users say what they are looking to find.

The ads then track down the aisle for each item and lets users add it to a shopping list.

Additionally, banner ads promote specific in-store items, which presents an opportunity for marketers to push certain items.

Consumers can also create shopping lists, view weekly promotions and find store events via the app.

Users can also sign up for Hy-Vee’s mobile coupon program, which sends coupons to mobile users via SMS.

Hy-Vee launched the app on Nov. 30 and has plans to roll-out an Android version in the coming weeks.

Hy-Vee is promoting the apps heavily on its Web site with links and a QR codes that redirects users to Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market.

“The immediacy of the services on mobile right when consumers need them was appealing to us,” Ms. Comer said.

Virtual grocery store
Hy-Vee is not the only grocery store utilizing in-store mobile apps to help shoppers.

Most recently, grocery chain Stop & Shop rolled out an iPhone app to help shoppers buy and bag groceries (see story).

In-store shopping apps are especially helpful for grocery stores because of their size and relationship that consumers have with their local stores.

Additionally, including deals and promotions is a smart move for Hy-Vee because it encourages in-store shopping.

“Grocery remains a weekly, bricks-and-mortar, in-store shopping event for the majority of customers,” said Nathan Pettyjohn, CEO of aisle411, St. Louis.

“The aisle411 mobile shopping experience fits naturally with a grocery trip as 73 percent of shoppers arrive at the store with a shopping list, 80 percent of shoppers report difficulty finding things in stores and 23 percent of shoppers report abandoning items on their original purchase intent because they can’t find things,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York