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Meijer pours money into in-store Wi-Fi to bolster loyalty program

After hitting 650,000 downloads of its mobile loyalty application, Meijer is arming its stores with Wi-Fi to increase coupon redemptions and keep shoppers engaged for longer periods of time.

Meijer has rolled out Wi-Fi to all of its stores at the same time that its mPerks loyalty program has added one million members in the past year. The in-store efforts support a bigger mobile strategy from the grocery chain in building up awareness and use for the mobile app part of the program that streamlines coupon redemption.

“We know that more and more of our customers are utilizing apps to assist them with their shopping, and therefore, Meijer is focused on arming them with the tools they need to insure they have a great shopping experience,” said Christina Fecher, spokeswoman at Meijer, Grand Rapids, MI.

Meijer operates approximately 200 grocery stores in Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

Save on mobile?
The strategy behind Meijer offering Wi-Fi is to make it easier for consumers to access their loyalty accounts and redeem coupons through the retailer’s app without worrying about draining their device’s battery.

Meijer’s free iPhone and Android app plays a major role in the brand’s mPerks loyalty program.

The app lets consumers virtually clip and redeem member-exclusive coupons and earn rewards and savings.

Additionally, consumers can create shopping lists and virtually check off  items.

The app also focuses on location-based features so that consumers can view maps of nearby stores and find products within store-specific maps.

With a better idea of what content consumers are looking at while in-store, Wi-Fi could potentially give Meijer’s loyalty program a significant boost.

For example, the grocery chain could detect where a consumer is within a store when they decide to virtually clip an offer.

Additionally, by requiring consumers to opt-in, Meijer could pick up on what other type of content consumers are looking at in the store to better tailor content to shoppers.

The grocery chain also has a separate pharmacy app that consumers can download to keep track of their prescriptions and find the nearest pharmacy locations.

The grocery chain claims that 129,000 members were added, 31 million offers were clipped and $12.6 million in savings were made through mPerks in December 2013.

Additionally, Meijer claims that the program has a redemption rate four times higher than the national average.

Meijer’s iPhone app

Bulking up on Wi-Fi?
Although Wi-Fi is still a hefty investment for brands, more retailers have been rolling it out lately as a move to keep consumers in stores with specific content and offers that tie into customer service and loyalty.

For example, an REI executive at Mobile Marketer’s Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2014 conference last week said that the retailer now offers Wi-Fi in all of its stores. The next big push for the brand is around mobile-specific content and signage that promote the Wi-Fi (see story).

Additionally, a Mall of America executive speaking at the NRF 103rd Annual Convention & Expo recently revealed that the 4.2 million-square-foot shopping center plans to roll out Wi-Fi this year (see story).

Given the size of Meijer’s loyalty program, Wi-Fi opens up the ability to not only drive app downloads, but also target mobile offers and deals better to specific groups of shoppers as they move around a store.

“I can say is that Meijer will continue to make our customers’ shopping experiences a focus this year,” Ms. Fecher said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York