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How international grocery stores drive mcommerce with personalized app shopping

January 26, 2016

Making grocery shopping easy on mobile

Making grocery shopping easy on mobile

International grocery retailers such as El Corte Ingles and Cencosud are driving sales with mobile shopping experiences that more closely mimic the in-store experience by using dynamic personalized digital shelves.

These retailers have integrated the Grability platform into their mobile applications, enabling them to provide a dynamic layout that reconfigures automatically according to a user’s shopping behavior and preferences. Interactive touch-screen capabilities allow users to grab an item off a shelf and put it in their basket much like they would in a physical store.

“We set out to create the best mobile shopping experience based on the habits of real-life shopping – browse aisles, grab an item from a planogram, put a steak on a scale to weigh it,” said Sebastian Mejia, co-founder and CEO of Grability. “We took the supermarket experience that many people love and put it on a mobile device to make it very fast and enjoyable.”

“You open the app, we want to take you as fast as possible to the store,” he said. “You would see a fully personalized store based on what we know about the products you like to buy.

“We try to mimic that arrangements that you see in the store. You can go to the dairy aisle, go into the cases and see the entire selection. It is a planogram and you swipe and put an item in the basket seamlessly.”

Fast-moving items
The Grability platform is designed for browsing and buying fast-moving items such as groceries, personal car and convenience store items on a mobile device.

Retailers using Grability’s white label solution to create their own branded apps include El Corte Ingles, a leading European department store and Cencosud, the third largest retailer in Latin America.

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Mr. Mejia reports that El Corte Ingles in Portugal is the most recent retailer to go live with Grability’s capabilities, seeing a 20 percent increase in sales in the first two months, higher average basket sizes and higher recurrence of shoppers.

Following the platform’s success in several international markets, the company has now set its sites on breaking into the U.S. market.

“The U.S., a couple of years ago, was not the most developed market in online grocery – Europe was more advanced,” Mr. Mejia said. “Mobile was really booming, there was no legacy in the system.

“Today, Amazon is a threat for grocery retailers and many of the supermarkets are now making a big push into online,” he said.

In-app advertising
CPG companies such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, P&G, Mondelez, Heineken and others have also partnered with Grability and its retailers for in-app advertising leveraging sponsored aisles, branded showrooms, impulse purchases at checkout and cross-selling.

The platform is designed to address the limited penetration for CPG products in ecommerce. CPG is a big shopper category, featuring many items that consumers purchase repeatedly, but is still relatively small online.


The penetration for CPG online is starting to change. Amazon is trying to make it easier for customers to repurchase items with services such as Amazon Prime and the Dash button.

Also, CPG marketers such as Mondelez are investing more heavily in developing engaging digital experiences with the goal of driving ecommerce sales.

Much like in a real-world grocery store, brands pay for more prominent placement on retailers’ apps.

“When you walk into a Walgreens, assortment is based on what brands paid for end caps, trade marketing to place their products in more visible parts of the store,” Mr. Mejia said. “We also have planograms – we bring those techniques of trade marketing to the grocery space.”

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