Life Tech Aldi’s app heralds a change in supermarket shopping
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Aldi’s app heralds a change in supermarket shopping

Augmented reality shopping
Aldi has entered the fray with an app designed to be used in store, to help consumers choose healthy products. Photo: Getty
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Aldi has launched an app that’s designed to highlight healthy food choices and save time – and we can expect others to follow as the new age of the supermarket dawns.

The app invites shoppers to scan packaged products to get immediate nutritional information – including a Health Star Rating or Traffic Light Label – and even suggests a healthier alternative.

Aldi says Healthy Picks will educate shoppers on nutrition and save them time.

Retail and consumer expert Gary Mortimer says it will also give Aldi an insight into shoppers’ behaviour, giving the supermarket more firepower when it comes to marketing.

Integrating phones into the shopping experience will become more and more common as supermarkets fight to win over consumers’ dollars, said Professor Mortimer, of Queensland University of Technology.

“Retailers already know that shoppers are engaged in online shopping whilst in a physical store,” Professor Mortimer told The New Daily.

“(They) know that if you’re in a store looking at a television, you’re keying that television model into your mobile phone to see where the lowest price is.”

Expect supermarkets to go a step further, leveraging location technology – near field communication – and push notifications.

Supermarkets will be nudging consumers further and further into using their phones as a key part of their shopping experience, Professor Mortimer said.

Aldi has launched its app, developed with The George Institute for Global Health. Photo: Aldi

Soon, loyalty programs, payment details and more will be housed within apps, which will become a central part of the weekly grocery shop.

This is how supermarkets hope to win over customers.

“Imagine you’re walking up the breakfast cereal aisle, and you get a push notification saying, ‘This is your favourite brand, here’s a special because you’re a loyal shopper’ – it’s going to give you a special deal on a product you already buy,” Professor Mortimer said, adding that we can expect to see blanket discounts phased out in favour of targeted deals.

So how does Aldi’s app work for the company, not just the consumer?

It’s an invaluable, real-time insight into what shoppers care about.

Every time a shopper scans an item, you can bet there will be someone on the other end eagerly catching the data.

“If children’s muesli bars or lunchbox snacks are the type of product more typically scanned – a retailer might then choose to change the packaging to make that information more visible,” Professor Mortimer explained.

Sure, downloading an app or joining a loyalty program might unlock discounts and make your shop easier – but just know it’s not a one-sided transaction.

“If you’re scanning products on your phone or using in-store free WiFi, know your data is going to be used,” Professor Mortimer said.

The future is now

There’s a host of changes coming to supermarkets – it’s not just limited to our phone screens.

In an article published on Inside Retail, Professor Mortimer covered off some of the advancements we can expect to see before 2020 is out.

We’re going to see more and more own-brand items on supermarket shelves and, as The New Daily reported last year, that’s a good thing for shoppers. It will result in lower prices for staple items.

Coles’ and Woolworths’ Little Shop and Ooshies gimmicks are already being put to bed, and Professor Mortimer doesn’t expect them to make a resurgence any time soon.

The (once) wildly successful LittleShop range. Photo: Coles

“Despite successful and successive collectables promotions driving some of this sales growth, consumers have become fatigued looking for the next ‘big thing’,” Professor Mortimer wrote.

He has, however, placed a strong bet on seeing augmented reality, Pokemon Go-style experiences brought into aisles in the next few years.

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