By Seth Kaplan
Taking in nourishment, as we all know, is one of the few things humans MUST do to stay alive. However, how we obtain our nourishment is changing rapidly these days and it will probably come as no surprise that it, as with many things these days, is going mobile quickly.
While it seems that daily good and services are turning to mobile to accommodate the overwhelming consumer demand to have everything at their fingertips on mobile devices, there are seemingly many ways in which this is happening in the food industry.
Mobile is impacting the way we shop for groceries both on and off premise. In New York City and many other metropolitan areas around the country, the food truck culture is growing rapidly; mobile restaurants serving a variety of fare which you can locate based on day/time through apps on your Smartphone such as Facebook and Twitter. Certain stores, such as Stop & Shop in New York, have created their own proprietary mobile scanners which consumers can use to while shopping to save time and money.
According to MyWebGrocer the number of grocery retailers with a mobile presence has increased 110 percent in the first half of 2012. “There’s been huge growth this year in grocery retailers building a mobile presence for the first time,” says Rebecca Roose, Senior Product Marketing Manager at MyWebGrocer. The key to mobile for retailers is making a daily task more convenient for their consumers; including managing of discounts and coupons, rewards points, and ultimately saving them time on the overall transaction of buying groceries. If retailers can do those things effectively than they can build a loyal consumer base who won’t shop anywhere else because the switching cost will become too high. For example, Fresh Direct, a mobile grocer allows you to complete and pay for your entire order right through their App and have it delivered to your home – now that’s convenience!
The next wave of mobile grocers and shoppers comes in the form of the next generation of Apps and in store POS systems. This will alleviate the need for grocers like Stop & Shop here in New York to provide their own propriety scanners. The next wave of Apps will allow you to scan and total the groceries you pick in store as you shop. Then, upon check out, you will simply need to tap your phone which has all your payment information at the POS/checkout station to complete the transaction.
According to Bill Gajda, Head of Mobile for Visa, this payment method won’t hit the mainstream in the US for another two to three years. Visa, one of major corporate proponents of mobile payments, is currently using the Olympics to showcase this technology. Visa has equipped 140,000 payment terminals in London with NFC (near field communication) chips which is the technology that enables the tap-and-go payments. Hopefully this international expose of the technology will expedite the schedule of getting this technology into our hands for greater convenience.
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