Food Trends for 2013 Will be Driven by Digital, Social and Mobile
Digital technology, and mobile in particular is moving at a "Blazing" speed to make our retail shopping experience and dining experience more pleasurable. Besides providing customer delight, retail and foodservice brands know that engaging the consumer while shopping or dining can add incremental sales and profits. Recently I downloaded the new RetailMeNot App, not just another app but an app that delivers offers while you are shopping in a store! The RetailMeNot Coupon App video illustrates how they use cell phone tracking, or what the industry calls geofencing technology to detect when you are near or in the store to "push" relevant offers to your smartphone.
Engaging the Digital Consumer
Actually digital "consumers"… We are not alike in how we use digital in our digital lives. Symphony IRI has identified 5 digital customer segments, Technophobes, Wired for Work, ocializers, Show me the Money and Digitize Me.
Earlier this year I spoke with food trend watchers and both saw mobile and tablets impacting all segments of the food business. Both retailers and restaurants are learning how the consumer is using their smartphone and iPads. The iPhone is driving the growing food trends of the Jay Blakeslee of MLS highlighted the trend of the Connected Table - iPhone and Adroid users are capturing pictures of their dining experience and sharing with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms. No longer is it necessary to share one's dining experience totally face to face. Ann Mack of JWT saw the early trend in Screened Dining - interactive screens that will supplement or replace the typical menu. Heinz supports it's Ketchup with creative usage of QR codes and Saint Joseph's University, best known for it's Food Marketing Curriculum, launched their Food Industry Summit on the Topic of Leveraging Digital Opportunities for Profitable Meals.
Order Your Burger with a Side of Digital?
So I was not surprised when I saw an article on Blazing Burger Testing New iPad Ordering Solution.
Blazing Onion Burger Company is a small fast casual chain located in Washington State that has been embracing technology for the past several years to not only enhance their customers experience but to add incremental sales and profits. Their locations are loaded with technology such as Coca Cola Freestyle, HD/3D Televisions and ordering kiosks… sending text messages to patrons when their order is ready. The kiosk technology trend is so strong there is even an industry web site KioskMarketplace that focuses on… well… kiosks! And the iPad is invading this space as well.
Mobile Payment Systems Invading QSR's
Burger King is testing their mobile payment system in Utah to attract consumers who lead a "mobile lifestyle"… guess marketers are now segmenting us on how are lives are run via mobile?
Recently Starbucks recently announced switching all of their credit card payments over to Pay with Square, to save money on transaction costs but more subtly to use the location based services of Pay with Square to recognize when you enter the store and put your information on the POS terminal. As I stated when this was announced "not only do you pay with the app on your smartphone, participating vendors can incentivize you to visit their store or restaurant… "
Finally Dominos Pizza Hits Unprecedented $1 Billion in US Digital Sales , approximately 30% of their total sales. Here is the mobile hook… the company estimates that 7% of their sales are coming from the Dominos mobile App.
Smartphones Are Mobile Trackers Creating Your Profile
We love our smartphones according to Nielsens Which Smartphone Apps Savvy Shopper Use report. Nielsen says "45 million American smartphone owners used a shopping app and used it an average of 17 times during the month (as of June 2012)"
Mobile ecommerce and mobile payment systems are exploding because your smartphone is now a mobile tracker. Think about it. How far away is your phone at any given point? A few feet? Mobile is now delivering what is the equivalent of one-to-one marketing… no longer is customer segmentation and targeting dealing with subsets of people. They are segmenting down to "you" or more precisely creating an extraordinarily accurate profile of you. So Digital allows us to answer the Who, What =, When, Where and Why of you.
Who … marketers no longer half to guess at segments… you are your phone!
What … you are buying or considering for purchase. So let's say you are using the Stop and Shop ScanIt App, they are collecting data as you scan and shop. Over time this data is "crunched" to observe shopping patterns to better determine the relevant offers you want.
When … The RetailMeNot Coupon App knows not only the exact time you are shopping, it knows the length of time you spend at each participating store and the total time you have shopped over multiple stores.
Where … is the easy part due to location based services. WSJ reported that Boingo Wireless Networks is testing WiFi Tracker system… tracking traffic patterns in malls and stores using a Smartphones WiFi capability. For example in a grocery store a WiFi tracking sytem can know which aisle you are in and get this… the length of time you spend in that aisle! So if you spend more time in the aisles that feature salty snacks… well they are learning that you may be a heavy user of salty snacks.
Why … is the fun part and the part where there is heavy lifting of behavioral analytics comes in. Your shopping behavior across multiple categories can point to why you buy what you buy. So consider a grocery consumer who we are tracking. Over time we see this shopper purchasing fresh produce, organic chicken, multi-grain breads, etc… and never purchasing sugary carbonated beverages, high fat salty snacks, etc… we can begin to see that this customer has a health and wellness lifestyle. If we can pair this grocery store data with other retail purchases, we can get a very accurate profile of you.