Food is food, it does not have the excitement that tech can bring. But we all eat and shop and digital grocery lists and digital coupons along with mobile marketing are changing the grocery business and brands and retailers are reacting to new shopper behavior. Larger brands like Kraft with their iFood Assistant and entrepreneurial ventures such as Savvy Penny, are rushing to create ways to engage the digital shopper at supermarkets . I interviewed John Scott, Co-Founder and Executive Vice-President of the MyGroceryDeals.com to learn more about their shopping site that focuses specifically on helping the grocery shopper match what they need with the hottest local supermarket deals.
Paul Davis and John Scott had the idea for MyGroceryDeals.com in 2004 and launched in the fall of 2008.
The founders came from a company that was in the business of customer satisfaction data management and had deep experience working with bricks and mortar retailers including grocery chains.
John said "We saw trends in comparison shopping online and saw a noticeable void in the grocery sector. 80% of consumers were using weekly circulars to plan their shopping. So why not take this consumer process and automate it… taking weekly circulars in print, moving them to digital and linking their shopping lists to the best and relevant deals." So began the journey of MyGroceryDeals.com.
The Consumer's Path to Purchase - Influenced by Online Coupons?
We used to make paper shopping lists and made out decision at the store level, as the industry calls it, The First Moment of Truth. With digital today, the Zero Moment of Truth is the stage where the consumer is making pre-purchase decisions and is the place where brands can influence the consumers purchase decisions. Not only for the big brands and retailers to consider, smaller retailers like Butter Lane Cupcakes know even simple purchases like cupcakes are affected by this phenomenon. JWT's Ann Mack said digital technology is one of three major trends affecting food shopping and consumption .
MyGroceryDeals is capturing the users data as they create their shopping list… pre-purchase. By capturing data from shopping list creation, they can better understand the pre-purchase behavior of the consumer by presenting highly relevant information regarding supermarket grocery deals.
How Does the Grocery Shopper Use This?
Users can use one of the themed lists, or add their own items, or both ! The site will find deals based on the items in the list and this list is saved for future visits. Users are able to quickly and easily sort their search results by store, category, or brand. These settings may also be edited or saved to make future visits even easier.
Browsing Deals is no longer a task of scanning weekly printed grocery circulars and newspaper ads. Users are alerted when coupons are available with the deals they find, for additional savings users can share specific deals via email and view the Nutritional Information for each product. For those seeking to avoid foods with allergens, automatic alerts occur on items and members can tell us about their allergies or other dietary restrictions in their profile as well.
The "My Shopping List" is saved for future visits. Shoppers can add or remove items from their list, which is sorted by store and complete with the deadlines for each deal. For those that like the feel of a paper list, members can print or email their list for reference while in-store. John didn't articulate this but I can see how they will have algorithms, such as those like Amazon, whereby over time they get to know your shopping behavior and really get smart at presenting the most relevant grocery deals to the user.
What is the value proposition for brands? Retailers? Consumers?
So John, How do you make money? This all sounds great but consumers have a plethora of coupon sites for groceries at their disposal and it appears brands and retailers are able to upload their deals and product information at no cost.
"How do we monetize our business? Both CPG brands and retailers can interact with consumers in a timely and relevant manner with our product. We have a specific reach. We are capturing all of this data and feel we can use the data beyond what we specifically do with developing smart grocery lists." Since they provide hyper-local audience participation and capture consumer shopping behavior, they can monetize mygrocerydeals.com through preferred placement ads to brands or first position on deal offers for retailers.
Johns said "We're a partner in GroceryServer, leveraging our data across top-tier food and lifestyle publishers". Lifestyle publisher examples tied into GroceryServer are dashrecipes.com, myrecipes.com and recipe.com, all are media outlets that provide online recipes to consumers. The data collected at MyGroceryDeals, along with their technology, can merge grocery deals with these partners' recipes… having a combined reach of over 60 million people.
How can smaller food brands participate? How does the one unit or small chain participate?
So far I think your service seems focused on large national brands and retailers. How does the "little guy" take advantage of digital grocery marketing? "We obviously deal with brands with nationwide appeal and larger budgets. For the smaller, local or regional food brands, we are currently developing a self-service model which is in Beta now. Our interface allows small brands to supply their product information or smaller retailers to register and provide deals digitally. We welcome smaller brands and retailers to get the data to us." Since many "foodpreneurs" struggle with effective in-store promotional programs , MyGroceryDeals.com can provide preferred placement and "add to list" capability to engage consumers while they are viewing products and preparing their shopping list.