Mobile plays huge role in online journey, Sainsbury’s tells BRC

Mobile: changing the online journey for Sainsbury's shoppers

Mobile: changing the online journey for Sainsbury’s shoppers

Mobile is not as prevalent in online grocery ordering as non-food but does play a huge role in the customer’s online journey, according to Jon Rudoe, director of online, digital and cross-channel at Sainsbury’s.

Speaking during a panel session at the BRC’s Omni-Channel Retailing conference yesterday (4 March 2014), Rudoe said mobile played a key role in amending online grocery orders and the in-store experience as opposed to completing a 50-60 item weekly shop.

Sainsbury’s, for instance, is trialling scan and go in five stores, enabling shoppers with smartphones to scan their shopping as they move around the store and then pay before they leave.

“Mobile is changing the shopping experience,” said Rudoe. It is also impacting store format, he said.

“We’ve thought carefully about how to design the physical checkout area to allow for the fact a customer is visiting the shop with a smartphone,” said Rudoe.

The experience and use of space is different since shoppers require privacy when they are using a phone to transact, he said.

“It’s impacting how we allocate space and our store design. Customers and colleagues experience the store very differently due to technology,” Rudoe said.

While tablets are becoming more prevalent, Rudoe said it was unlikely grocery shoppers would pull out tablets and start scanning products in a supermarket. In-store colleagues are more likely to be armed with tablets and customers with mobile phones, he said.

Rudoe warned of adopting technology for technology’s sake and stressed not all product information would necessarily be subject to price checks, such as when a shopper is keen to purchase purely Fairtrade bananas. Shopping can be enhanced through the digital experience but it is not primarily about the digital experience, he said.

Rudoe also highlighted the benefits of the Nectar loyalty card to “stitch together the multi-channel businesses” and said the level of incentivising Sainsbury’s does in-store to encourage people to shop with the retailer online was “surprising”.

According to Rudoe, it’s an advantage Saisnbury’s has over those competitors which do not operate a loyalty card scheme.