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Logo for Fresh EBT by Propel.

Check out the Fresh EBT app

AWG is working with Fresh EBT to help retailers connect with SNAP shoppers and capture a higher share of EBT spend. We know that EBT recipients are an important segment for many of our members. Nationwide, the SNAP program supports over $70B in grocery purchases, with shoppers spending tens of billions of dollars more outside of the program for food at home. Fresh EBT is a smartphone app that makes it easier for EBT recipients to manage and use their benefits. Over 800,000 people across the country have downloaded the app since it was released in early 2016. Through Fresh EBT users are able budget their benefits, organize shopping trips, and find valuable grocery content. For retailers, Fresh EBT provides direct access to EBT recipients while they are planning and conducting their grocery shopping. Retailers can advertise weekly specials, create sponsored recipes, or simply introduce themselves or share store news. Ads can be targeted by location, as well as shopping history or time of month. Through Fresh EBT, retailers can stay top of mind for EBT recipients. Fresh EBT also offers…

Woman Holding Purse and Shopping Bag on Smartphone

Using Retail Technology to Create a Personalized In-Store Experience

With the ever-changing technology landscape for the retail industry, have you ever stopped to think about how you can use this technology to create a better in-store experience for your customers? Some retailers wrongly assume that because so much of our everyday lives have become dependent upon technology, retail technology is slowly replacing the brick and mortar store. In fact, retailers can (and should) use digital platforms to enhance the in-store interactions with their customers. During last week’s Coffee with CART, the discussion revolved around several articles highlighting the ways in which retailers are using technology to enhance the in-store experience. For example, Street Fight magazine explained how the designer denim company, True Religion, is providing their in-store customers with a more personalized shopping experience that involves the brand’s Apple Watch app. Associates working in the store are alerted on their Apple Watch when a member of the brand’s loyalty program have entered the store. The app pulls pictures of the customer from their social media profiles so the associate will be able to recognize the customer and greet them…

Coffee with Cart Graphic.

Star Trek gadgets could work today with an open mind

“3D printed food you can eat,” makes me think of the “replicator” in Star Trek. The Replicator seemed like a magical device with the ability to make something out of nothing. I had forgotten the Replicator used technology from the transporter. This means the replicator actually found whatever you ordered and sent it to you. Quickly.   At the end of a long day, I read the article mentioned in a recent Coffee with CART about the 3D edible food printer “Foodini”. Reading the article helped me shed my Star Trek Replicator assumptions and first off, I wasn’t impressed. I left work thinking “Big deal, somebody figured out how to fit a cookie factory into a box the size of a microwave, and it doesn’t even cook! Why would any of our retailers be interested?” It takes me 20-30 minutes to drive home from work, so I tend to relax some during this time. I started to think of factories that produce food. Basically, food goes in, it gets rearranged, and then packaged food comes out. Why do we have factories? To mass-produce. Now lets…

Video is the single most important content strategy today. - Gary Vaynerchuck, best-selling author, entrepreneur, Internet personality

Rebuttals for the most common excuses for avoiding video

When I first found out that I would need to blog as a part of this position, I was nervous. I looked around at what other people were blogging about and I didn’t feel like I had anything to add to that conversation. That was until I went to the latest Social Media of Kansas City lunch. It was a presentation by Sarah Redohl from Little Big Video on how to make videos “like Google.” As my background is in video I was very excited to see this presentation. Many people come up with as many excuses as it takes to avoid jumping into video. This post will cover many of them, but it is important to remember that video has the highest conversion rate of any medium. After watching a video for a product, people are 144 percent more likely to add it to their cart and 85 percent more likely to buy it. Think about your own time online. Video has become expected. Not only that, but each app has its own standard for video length. I will…

Mobile phone rising out of magic hat.

Changing Mobile Phone Habits

Technology has a habit of changing family traditions. For example, televisions changed dinnertime for many families. Popular TV shows would be scheduled to air during dinnertime, so how did we adapt? TV dinners! When people started getting electricity in their homes, we started staying up later. The telephone even helped change migration patterns because family members could move further away from each other but still communicate quickly. Waiting 3 months for a reply to a letter you sent is hard to imagine. Some of the habits people formed around new technologies can make those without not want to get involved, or as little as possible to get by. Any habit in excess can make a person annoying, ridiculous or even dangerous. Setting too close to the TV can hurt your eyes. Constant talking on the phone makes it hard for other family members to use the phone, and promotes gossip. Reading all night makes it hard to concentrate the next day. So it stands to reason why this Mobilegeddon craze can be something you might want to ease into. People…

iBeacon, You Beacon, We all Beacon.

As I covered in my most recent post, in-store apps can be beneficial to customers and stores alike, given the integration of mobile devices in shopping. More specifically, iBeacon technology is a new program from Apple that can really pay dividends. The new technology allows small transmitting devices in the store to locate iOS users, given they have your app and agreed to privacy terms, and alert them of deals specific to where they are. The range in which transmitters (which are about the size of a USB drive) notify customers can be customized up to about fifty meters as well, so notifications can be sent when users are in the vicinity of the store. Think of iBeacon like a GPS for your store, but instead of notifying you when to turn on what road, it tells you what bread is on sale. There have been many success stories to come out of iBeacon’s short existence. As noted in my previous blog, County Market implemented its myCountyMarket iBeacon app across 45 stores last month, with 3,000 customers downloading the app…

cell phone in someone's hand

Mobile Devices in Marketing

Pick any customer in your store at random. Chances are, if they have opposable thumbs and are breathing, they have a smartphone. In fact, 80 percent of all Internet users own a smartphone, and if you’re not making this trend beneficial to your store, you’re almost certainly hurting business. For instance, Ashu Garg, a partner at Foundation Capital, told VentureBeat.com an anecdote that underlines how mobile devices can negatively affect your store. According to Garg, chewing gum sales were down 20-25 percent, not because shoppers didn’t want gum, but because the time they would normally buy it (waiting in the checkout aisle) was now occupied by smartphone usage. Your store is probably not going to beat-out your customer’s phone for their affection, so the solution to this problem is simple: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Create an in-store app. In-Store Apps If we’re assuming your customers own a smartphone, we can conclude they are almost certainly spending a large chunk of their time using them. Consumers spend about 30 hours a month on their smartphones, and 80 percent…

Coffee With CART – NGA Show Recap

If there’s one thing on the mind of retailers after the NGA show, it is technology. With a record crowd in attendance, there was a very high level of excitement in the independent sector according to Gary Hawkins, and much of that excitement came from innovation. The first Coffee with CART held after the NGA show wrapped up the event that was and took a look at what programs and offerings retailers will be taking vested interest in throughout the year. One of the first notes from the NGA show was the enthusiasm that international companies are showing in the independent grocers in the U.S. market. One company out of Argentina is helping retailers and brand manufacturers track what is happening at the shelf in store. With monitors in the ceiling, this program tracks consumer movement, showing retailers which aisles are and are not trafficked by a consumer, and notes when an item is picked up off the shelf, then either replaced on the shelf or put in the basket. Insights like this will help lead to merchandising effectiveness says…

App store: over 1.2 million apps, Google Play: over 1.3 million apps

Exploring the App Question

I’m guessing you’ve heard the phrase “There’s an app for that”. It refers to, of course, the vast number of smartphone apps in the app marketplace. In fact, at a recent American Advertising Federation of Kansas City event, I heard John Kreicbergs talk about mobile apps and he mentioned a staggering stat: The Apple Store has 1.2 million apps in it and the Google Play marketplace has 1.3 million apps in it. That’s simply astounding. Yet, these numbers, and the attention apps have warranted in the last few years makes this question I get asked quite often make more sense: “Can you help me build an app?” The answer is certainly yes. I know app builders. The better questions though are “Do you need one?” and “Do you have the infrastructure to support it?” Companies in a variety of different industries are assessing smartphone apps for a variety of reasons. The commonality all these companies have though is that before the app is created, the objectives for its creation must be determined. Without a clear strategy outlining what the app…