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Peapod, P&G tap mobile to simplify grocery shopping for commuters

Internet grocer Peapod, Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble’s Charmin are giving smartphone owners in Philadelphia another way to shop for groceries while they commute to work.

Posters at Philadelphia transit stations feature a variety of commonly purchased grocery items along with QR codes that commuters can scan with the Peapod app to order the items. The purchased items are then delivered to a shopper’s door by Peapod.

“Mobile is such a great way for people to be able to multitask,” said Elana Margolis, panager of public relations,  at Peapod, Skokie, IL. “If you are on the train or in line waiting to pick up your kids from school, you can check grocery shopping off of your list.

“It is all about making shopping more convenient for our customers,” she said.

“Consumers buy books on the go, they buy shoes on the go, why not grocery shop on the go too? Peapod makes it a seamless experience to go from desktop to mobile and back again so even if you are on the train and realize that you forgot to put peanut butter in your ‘cart,’ you can just pull up the app and add it on your smartphone.”

A convenient reminder
Once users have downloaded the Peapod app, they can use the bar code icon in the app to start scanning items on the ads. Once in the app, users can also browse thousands of other items that do not appear in the ads.

The posters could help drive sales by reminding commuters of items they need at home.

To encourage commuters to use the service, Peapod is offering $20 off a first order and 60 days of free delivery to users who type in “PHILLYRAIL” as a promo code.

The move by Peapod to use mobile to give consumers a way to shop for groceries while they travel to and from work follows a similar strategy from international retailer Tesco, which placed signs in the Seoul subway system that also featured frequently purchased grocery items. The items could be scanned by a smartphone to purchase and be delivered to the user’s home.

The strategy was reportedly a success, with Tesco – a newcomer to the Seoul market – seeing online sales triple in three months.

Some of the brands participating in the Peapod effort include Coca-Cola, Stroehmann, Bounty, Charmin and Cheerios.

Peapod chose Philadelphia to launch the initiative because it is a new market for the company.

The retailer, which currently serves 24 U.S. markets, will watch to see how consumers react to the Philadelphia service before deciding to bring it to other cities.

“Our current customers really like our app – about 15 percent of current customers use it or have tried it,” Ms. Margolis said. “People who use Peapod tend to be pretty engaged with the brand and are always challenging us to add more features.”

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