There’s an app for that! How many times have you seen or heard that phrase? And how often are you bombarded by words (including mine) urging you and your stores to embrace and understand the new mobile technologies?
And how often do you use them yourself?
You don’t have to answer. Most of us these days are practically overwhelmed by the amount of food-centric apps that are available, and frankly it is impossible to be testing or using them all. Retailers that I have interviewed candidly admit (off the record) that even their own apps have features that they don’t fully understand or use.
There is no doubt that food apps are here to stay; they can compare prices, create shared shopping lists, offer coupons and recipes, help compare nutritional information, find out what produce is in season, research the heritage of ethnic foods, offer recall alerts and help shoppers identify and avoid ingredients or allergens — each day more and more of your shoppers are using them.
So it is time for supermarkets to lead the food app empowerment, rather than secretly hoping the mobile and social technologies will just fade away. Millennials and Boomers in particular love apps and love foods; and now it’s time for them to love your store.
A great relationship builder is teaching your customers how to use food apps — even if your chain or co-op doesn’t have your own! Much like the power of store tours and cooking classes, taking the lead to empower shoppers with the “how-tos” of food, recipe and shopping apps puts you in control.
Read more: GMA Speaker Urges Mobile Progress 
Pick six or seven free food apps you really like (in full disclosure: I would love you to include my iTunes Smarter Shopping app on that list!) and find the people in your organization, probably a Millennial, who lives on their mobile device who really understands and can teach others how to use apps.
Start off with that person teaching you and your immediate staff as a test. Then have them teach other departments and finally let them loose on your shoppers by offering in-store app classes.
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