Use of retailer apps will continue to rise
Among users of retailer apps, 77% report they are likely to increase their frequency of use or use new features, according to a recent online survey of more than 600 AccentHealth viewers. Cost-saving seekers will continue to fuel future app usage (67%); however, significant interest in less commonly used tools today — such as live expert chatting (30%), bar code scanning (55%) and prescription regimen management (46%) — are expected to contribute to growth in app use.
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Source: AccentHealth. To view the demographic breakdown of participants, click here.
Walmart expands mobile checkout program to 200 stores
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Late last year, Walmart rolled out the pilot program for a new mobile initiative called "Scan & Go" to 70 stores in the Atlanta and Bentonville, Ark. areas, where the company is based. Now, the mass merchandise retailer is expanding the program after a successful test run.
The "Scan & Go" program allows shoppers to scan bar codes with their smartphones using the "Scan & Go" app, currently only available through Apple, while they’re in the aisles. The app generates a specific customer code, which is then scanned at self-checkout terminals when the customer is ready to leave.
"Our goal is to give choices to all of our customers however they want to shop," said Gibu Thomas, senior vice president of mobile and digital initiatives at WalMart’s global e-commerce division. "It’s part of a holistic program to empower the customer."
How the customer wants to shop is relying more and more on mobile devices, Walmart found. More than half of WalMart’s customers have smartphones, and 40 percent of traffic from walmart.com is coming from shoppers’ mobile devices, added Thomas.
With more than half of shoppers who tried the "Scan & Go" app using it again, Walmart notes the pilot program is resonating well with its customers, Thomas said. It presents a good way for shoppers to keep a running tally of how much they’re spending as they shop, as well as allowing customers to bag their own groceries how they see fit. "They like to bag items the way they keep their items in the house," he said.
The expansion will now see the program in more than 200 stores in markets including Dallas, Houston, Austin, Texas; Denver, Portland, Ore., Seattle, and Phoenix.
Ahold plans completion of ICA sale Wednesday
AMSTERDAM — Royal Ahold expects its deal to sell its share of the European supermarket chain ICA to Hakon Invest to be completed next Wednesday, the Dutch supermarket operator said Thursday.
Ahold said the conditions for the sale of its 60% stake in ICA to Swedish investor group Hakon Invest had been met.
Ahold announced the $3.3 billion deal in February. Based in Sweden, ICA also operates the ICA and Rimi chains in Norway and the Baltics. Ahold owns the Stop & Shop, Giant-Carlisle and Giant-Landover supermarket banners and the Peapod online grocery service in the United States.