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How Fetch Rewards benefits shoppers and retailers

Fetch Rewards — which partners with grocers to allow customers to scan products and apply coupons via its Shop Fetch app as they shop for a smoother checkout experience — is steadily expanding beyond its Madison, Wis., roots.

Come January, the company plans to announce a partnership with a “decent-sized chain” that will put the total number of stores it services at over 100, up from 56 currently, CEO Wes Schroll said. Fetch Rewards also recently brought on former dunnhumby CIO Paul Hunter as a consultant, and plans to launch a second, “retail agnostic” app in the first quarter of 2017 that will be available for use nationwide.

One aspect of Shop Fetch that’s gotten a lot of attention recently is its “expedited checkout” feature. While app users still interact with a cashier at the end of each trip, the process takes less time because the cashier simply needs to scan a bar code on the customer’s phone before processing payment as they normally would.

After Amazon announced plans for its first “checkout-free” store in December, about 10 retailers Fetch Rewards had previously reached out to called the app maker back to explore piloting the program in their stores.

Fetch Rewards

Photo: Fetch Rewards

“It’s great to see how when the bogeyman does something, people apparently pay attention,” said Schroll.

Schroll asserted that Shop Fetch’s expedited process has advantages over self-checkout because customers still get a personalized encounter with an employee and have flexibility in how they pay.

“We didn’t want to force someone to use mobile payment when as of right now there’s still a lot of people vying for who’s going to be the leader in that market. So we really wanted to make it so the shopper could still use food stamps, for example, if they need to, and still be able to use the application and gain the benefits from it,” said Schroll.

Photo: Fetch Rewards

Fetch Rewards

Fetch Rewards currently partners with over 20 retailers, including single-store independents as well as smaller chains like Scranton, Penn.-based Gerrity’s Supermarkets and La Crosse, Wis.-based Quillin’s.

Schroll said the app continues to see increases in usage in existing stores.

“Our top performing stores actually [have] over 30% of their revenue now that goes through Fetch on a week-to-week basis,” said Schroll.

Working with larger chains has given the company access to more data that can be used to measure Fetch’s success. For example, Shop Fetch can link customers’ loyalty cards to the app and analyze their shopping patterns.

“We actually were able to show over the first four months of a customer using the application that their share of wallet increases by about 12.9% at [one particular] retailer. And it’s really coming from them picking up one extra shopping trip that the year before they just never saw,” said Schroll.

While the average Shop Fetch basket size is 40%-50% larger than partner stores’ typical basket size, not all of that is attributable to the app. Schroll said shoppers tend to use the app for larger trips because it allows them to keep a running dollar total, keep track of all coupons and promotions, and save time at checkout.

Fetch Rewards

Photo: Fetch Rewards

One of the biggest surprises has been that the age of the average user is about 47, Schroll said, showing that older customers are willing to learn a new feature on their phones in order to save money or experience some of the other benefits of the app.

Last summer, Fetch Rewards began a partnership with the app ShopWell in order to provide nutritional information within the Shop Fetch app. Customers can specify a specific health concern, such as diabetes or a gluten allergy, and the app will tell them if a scanned product is a good choice for that diet.

A redesign of the Shop Fetch app due out in February will call more attention to the nutritional information as well as provide retailers with more opportunities to connect with shoppers, Schroll said.

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