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Countdown lets your fingers do the shopping with new mobile app

Smartphone penetration is now thought to be around 30 percent in New Zealand, and that number is increasing rapidly. So Countdown has jumped on the mobile bandwagon and upped the ante in terms of customer experience by launching what it's calling a New Zealand-first iPhone app that features a digital shopping list and barcode scanning technology, as well as the ability to check prices, find recipe ingredients, collect loyalty points and shop online.

"Supermarket retailing continues to be transformed through the innovative use of technology, whether it’s electronic payments, online shopping, self serve checkouts or QR codes," says Bridget Lamont, general manager of marketing at Countdown. "In the past few years, we’ve seen the explosion of mobile phone applications and now we’ve got one that will change the way Kiwis shop at the supermarket. This app means paper shopping lists are a thing of the past. It provides an aisle-ordered shopping list that synchronises with your preferred store, making it easier to find products on supermarket shelves. It will even let you know how much your shopping will cost before you leave the house, which is a great tool for budgeting [pricing is not real time, however]."

Youtube VideoTechnology is certainly changing the retail game and, increasingly, the digital world is mingling with the real world. In Brazil, a clothes retailer is showing the number of real-time Facebook likes for specific items on its clothes racks; in Japan consumers are among the world's highest users of QR codes and regularly use their phones to find out product information instore; and in Korea, Tesco launched a brilliant mobile shopping experience that replicated aisles of the supermarket in a subway and allowed commuters to scan, purchase and have items delivered. While this app, which was made by Tigerspike and was one year in the making, isn't taking things that far just yet, there are some similarly functional features, with users able to scan the barcodes of used products from their pantry before they throw them away, automatically adding them to their shopping list.

The app also links to Countdown’s rewards programme, where customers can check their Onecard points balance and also check for any price promotions on products they regularly buy via the mySpecials feature. Users can also go old-school and access the latest Countdown mailer.

The recipe function on the app allows customers to access a range of recipes and then automatically add ingredients to their shopping lists. And the checkout function lets shoppers to pick their groceries and have them delivered straight to their home via Countdown’s online shopping service.

Around the world, online grocery delivery is showing impressive growth, with Nielsen predicting online purchases of consumer packaged goods in the US will more than double to $25 billion by 2014. Some big players like Amazon are also getting into the grocery delivery market and Countdown's Luke Schepen says there's a similar trend in New Zealand, with double digit growth in terms on online sales.

As for the marketing, Schepen says they will be telling their customers about the new app with a fully integrated campaign by Ogilvy featuring TV, print, outdoor, social media and PR (both in-house and through Acumen republic). It will also be promoting the app through its own proprietary channels like in store media, its live TV commercials and in mailers.

He says the marketing will focus on innovation and the ways Countdown has used technology to improve the shopping experience for its customers.

The Countdown app is now available for free download from the Apple App Store, and will launch on Google Play for Android in the next couple of weeks.

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