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Big Y enhances customer experience with mobile shopping app


Big Y is enhancing the customer experience with a new mobile shopping application that will provide a personalized shopping experience while helping customers save money.

The supermarket chain will be able to send personalized promotions while users are shopping and provide regionalized digital circulars via the app. The feature-rich application also lets users create shopping lists.

“The Big Y mobile app provides convenience for every interaction a customer would have in the store, from information gathering to post purchase activities,” said Andrew Paradise, CEO of AisleBuyer, Boston.

“We’re able to increase customer loyalty by tailoring promotions, coupons and ads to each individual shopper while they are inside the store,” he said. “We also provide regionalized digital circulars based on a customer’s location.

“Using the application, Big Y customers can compile shopping lists within the application by either scanning product bar codes at home or in the store, reducing errors during shopping trips.

In-store shopping
Big Y, Springfield, MA, is one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains. It operates 61 supermarkets in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

The chains new app was built using AisleBuyer’s mShop mobile commerce platform.

The localized digital circulars will provide current sale information and targeted coupons based on the nearest store location. Users will also be able to access a digital store locator that features hours, directions and contact information.

Additionally, users can scan bar codes to view and compare product and nutrition information and access customer reviews.

The app also includes analytics for collecting detailed data on in-store shopping behavior.

The mobile app is available for iPhone and Android devices.

Specialty retailer Magic Beans, which operates four baby gear and toy stores in the Boston area piloted an app from AisleBuyer last year enabling mobile self-checkout in its stores.

During the Black Friday weekend last year, 42 percent of smartphone owners used the app rather than wait on line. Additionally, 12 percent of all transactions during the holiday season were completed through the app (see story).

AisleBuyer also offers a restaurant application built on its mobile commerce platform that lets consumers skip the line and place food order in real-time via their smartphones (see story).

Big Y recently announced recently that it will remove self-checkout stations by the end of the year. The self-checkout stations had been in the stores since 2003.

The decision to get rid of the self-service checkout stations came after the retailer’s research showed that the stations were not saving customers any time because there are so many different things that can go wrong during checkout, such as coupons not scanning. As a result, customers wound up waiting for attendants to assist.

While the self-service checkout stations did not enhance the customer experience as much as was hoped, Big Y expects the mobile app will.

“The supermarket business is extremely competitive because, in most cases, they offer a similar selection of products as competing chains,” Mr. Paradise said.

“As an alternative to competing on price, grocers are now looking for ways to provide a unique customer experience by offering a new level of convenience that will encourage repeat visits by shoppers,” he said. “Now that smartphone adoption is growing at such a rapid rate consumers have started using them to aid in the shopping process across many retail verticals.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York