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Putting Independent Spin on Mobile Marketing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Independents have special opportunities when it comes to making strides with mobile-enabled consumers.

That was one of the messages delivered during a special track for independent operators during the FMI Midwinter Conference here.

Maribel Lopez, principal and founder, Lopez Research, said that while independents may be squeezed for resources, they have some know-how that even the biggest chains might lack. The independents' deep understanding of their customers allow them to tailor technology for specific needs, she explained.

"Independents aren't usually the first to do things," she said during a discussion of mobile apps. "But they are often the first to do things with an added twist."

She said that means independents might put special spins on apps, "such as how it relates to healthy living or new mothers, for example."

"You are very good at picking up on something specific about what your customer base would like," she told the audience of independents.

Read more: Consumer Eating Preferences Shift Further: Study

Lopez said mobile can't be viewed as a factor divorced from other parts of a retail business. "You must combine it with other parts of your business to be powerful," she said.

She discussed the wide range of topics retailers need to consider in building mobile strategies, ranging from from real-time offers to mobile POS.

"When I think of mobile, I think it's an opportunity for us as an industry to get to the next level," she said.

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