Mobile grocery shopping in Belgium: an applications review [infographic]

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Following our widely spread analysis of banking apps on mobile devices earlier this year, we decided to rerun a similar test for a different industry. During one of our mobile apps lunches, we came up with the idea to test the landscape of mobile grocery apps in Belgium.Just like our previous analysis, we explored the applications mainly from the consumer’s perspective and less from a technical point of view. All apps have been tested on the Apple iPhone 4s model following a standardised checklist of predefined criteria. Note that we only focused on mobile apps and not on (desktop) online shopping. We drafted our findings in an infographic and wrap up the conclusions in this blog post.

The popularity of social, local and mobile solutions has long been going on. With continuously increasing revenues coming from mobile shopping we were a bit surprised to find that only 3 Belgian supermarkets offer mobile apps that allow customers to shop directly from their mobile device: Delhaize, Carrefour and Colruyt. Although Lidl has an internationally supported mobile application, it does not offer a shopping feature from within the app. Makro and Wink offer great online shopping solutions but lack any mobile application.

That leaves us with a test of the three biggest supermarkets in Belgium, represented in the infographic.

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Just like our analysis of the mobile banking applications, the first overall conclusion is that the apps we tested offer similar functionalities.  All three apps offer barcode scanning to directly add products to your shopping basket, a physical store locator, efficient search functionality, products overview and the choice of pick-up date and time. These are essential features that work flawlessly for all three apps.

Order

Mobilegrocery2The main purpose of a grocery application is – of course – providing an easy way to place an order, something all three apps have paid attention to. Ordering is fast and the overall user experience is good.

There is one remark on the brochures and discounts though. All three supermarkets show in-app discounted products and special offers, that you can easily add to your shopping cart or basket by clicking them. Carrefour is the only supermarket to offer its printed brochure as a downloadable file, but without any clickable sections. This is a missed opportunity as we believe in the added value of offering a clickable brochure within the application.

With Carrefour, we experienced that once you select your drive.be store and time of pick up you are locked in a loop, unable to cancel your choice and switch to another store and/or pick up time during your order. It took a while before we found out that the choice of store is linked to your personal account settings and needs to be changed from there.

Confirmation and notification

After placing an order, the confirmation process works fine and is sent to you by email. Whereas Carrefour and Delhaize send a reminder to inform you that the goods are ready to be picked up, Colruyt does not provide this information.

Pick-up

All three supermarkets offer next day pick-up. For early birds, Delhaize is the best choice. Delhaize orders can be picked up from 10 a.m., while Colruyt and Carrefour orders can be picked up from 11 a.m. Special parking places are only available at Carrefour (Drive) and Delhaize.

While Colruyt offers a dedicated entrance to pick up your goods, it took us some time to find where we were supposed to go. We first walked into the store, only to discover that we needed to use another entrance. This should be communicated more clearly during the confirmation procedure. After having selected your store of choice, a small description of the exact pick-up place could help.

Service prices vary heavily from no cost at all at Delhaize to 5.5 euros at Colruyt.

Packing

If you care about the environment, Colruyt and Carrefour are your first choice. They offer reusable boxes that you can lend for a deposit or buy to keep for yourself. Delhaize gives you cardboard boxes to transport your groceries.

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Golden tip: bring your bank card to the pick up spot! Delhaize accepts pretty much everything but Carrefour does not accept cash payments and Colruyt refuses credit cards. Discount coupons can be handed in manually at the delivery location (Delhaize and Colruyt) or can be entered in the app (Carrefour).

Overall conclusion

All in all, none of the three applications failed the test. The mobile experience is good, navigation is clear and essential functionalities work fine. They all have their strong and weak points but in the end they balance out each other. The biggest point of attention we spotted during our customer journey is the weak link between the mobile shopping experience and the offline experience. Printed brochures could be better integrated and guidelines with the pick-up procedures could be improved. Next to that, Carrefour makes ordering a bit confusing with listing all drive and non-drive stores under the ‘drive.be’ tab while there are significant differences between both stores.

On a side note, Windows Phone users are screwed because none of the apps are supported on this operation system.

Besides the test of the Delhaize, Colruyt and Carrefour apps, we were surprised not to see mobile apps for the great initiatives by Makro and Wink. Lidl has a good international approach (pick your country when opening the app) but lacks any ordering possibilities.

Last but not least, we discovered that Carrefour has another online application (Carrefour Express) that only offers pick-up at two stores. We were puzzled where to put this application in Carrefour’s mobile strategy so we decided to leave this sub-brand out of the test.

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