Coles has joined many organizations in developing a fully functioning iPhone application for their business. This is an interesting step forward for an industry that has been experiencing rapid growth, showing they are proactively thinking about next steps for gaining brand loyalty and making shopping decisions easier for their consumers. I bet the main competitors won't be far away, if they don't' already have plans in place.
Let's look at how Coles are using the application for their business;
The application has been developed to work easily and with users in mind with core features like:
Search an ever-expanding database of delicious recipes, from seasonal meals to recipes for kids, meals on a budget, healthy eating and much more. Build your own shortlist of favourite recipes and add recipe ingredients to your shopping list with one touch! This very clever function will no doubt pick up on the current cooking craze instigated by shows like MasterChef. Users can add the all the necessary products to make recipes in one go, and can purchase them one by one when in-store. Once home, users can then follow how to make the dish. It will be interesting to see if Coles get's a pick up on customers using this function and whether this will lead to an increase in overall basket spend in store.
Plan your next shop using the ShopMate shopping list. Automatically add items from recipes, from your virtual home or key in items of your own. Build as many shopping lists as you like for any occasion--your weekly shop, your party shop, holiday shop, etc. This function is set-up for the busy consumer who doesn't have time to plan out their shopping on the go, and the rush to put together a shopping list right before going into a store invariably involves forgetting two to three key items needed to make a dish. With this feature you can add items to your virtual shopping list throughout the week and then change to - Shopping cart function once in-store. From there you can cross off each product as you pick it off the shelf. This feature was essentially set-up for busy and forgetful people.
Your Virtual Home
Explore the rooms of your virtual home to discover Coles' extensive range of products from groceries, personal care, kids/baby products, cleaning and more. See what's on special at your local Coles and add items to your virtual shopping list with one touch. Although this feature looks great, as a quick shopping tool I believe it needs further investigation. As products categorized in this way could be confusing for certain people, I would have liked to see this in a dropdown section that would sub-classify products in a more user-friendly way. I wonder if users will change the way this has been developed and deployed over the coming months?
Use Coles Shopmate to discover what's on special at Coles every week. Browse the specials at any time on your iPhone and add items to your shopping list at the touch of a button. Although this in theory sounds like a good feature, from what I can see it looks like it has not been fully integrated. The specials are locality relevant, but don't seem to be fully supported right throughout the business as of yet. When this is fully integrated I think it will become a powerful tool as it will allow shoppers to compare special pricing even when they are in other supermarkets? As long as Coles has the right pricing they stand a chance of converting many shoppers from other brands. Clever function indeed.
Find a Coles
Need to find your local coles? Just key in your postcode for directions to your nearest store. As Coles develops it's stores throughout Australia this will assist people on the move.
Shopping with Shopmate
Switch to Shopping Mode when you're in a Coles supermarket, and you can cross items off your shopping list and keep track of what's in your virtual trolley! This is a function that might assist with keeping kids interested while helping parents with the weekly shopping tasks. Give the phone to the child and get them to tick things off as they go. Will this potentially stop children from misbehaving in shopping centres, thereby creating a nicer environment?
Overall, this is a first-up entry from a new player and will be watched closely by many in the mobile market. I would suggest there will be many improvements and anhancements to this application as time goes on, eventually to the point where you will be able to fully purchase products from it, balance your spend per week and allow Coles to gather valuable market information- how customers order, where they come from, what they spend, what days they do it on etc.....
The application has numerous ways in which it can be developed, but it will be up to Coles and its competitor to work out how best this can be utilised. But Coles certainly has a leg up as they are the first to market with an application like this, and in my books that goes a long way towards leading the supermarket industry. Stay tuned, as I will be reporting on any of the others who try to compete......
Please let me know if you use this application and what you think can be improved to it.