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In my April Tech Trends Alert newsletter editorial I wrote about the various food shopping iPhone apps available, and wondered why no actual grocers had created any. At that time, all of the apps were developed by software companies or a national food brand.
I even gave my editorial the headline: “Where’s Your iPhone App?”
Now, I’m happy to report that our industry has joined the iPhone App game, beginning with Whole Foods Market in June, and U.K. online grocer Ocado just two weeks ago.
It was absolutely no surprise to me that Whole Foods was first; the retailer leverages the Web and social media like no other retailer.
Whole Foods launched a recipe search and store locator App that is available free for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The recipe search App provides Whole Foods’ entire selection of over 2,000 online recipes
Recipes are searchable by ingredient, special diets, and other elements like “budget” and “family friendly,” and each recipe contains detailed preparation instructions and nutritional information, which can be copied and pasted, saved as a personal “favorite,” and emailed from within the App itself. The App also includes an “On Hand” feature where customers can enter ingredients and get back meal recommendations.
The App also comes with a store locator, where consumers use a ZIP code search or the iPhone’s built-in location finder to view maps that identify the nearest Whole Foods store. Each store page contains operating hours, phone and address, and links to maps, directions, and store specials.
UK online grocer Ocado – which was launched in partnership with Waitrose January 2002 — last week launched its own iPhone application that enables consumers to order products from their phone and shop its products even when the phone is offline.
Called “Ocado on the Go,” the app is developed for customers with existing accounts on the main Ocado Web site, and automatically synchronizes the user’s data between the two platforms, so the user can start an order on the iPhone and complete it on the Web.
Once the catalog of 18,000 products is downloaded to the phone, shopping lists can be created even when the phone is offline, which means users can create shopping lists while looking through the fridge – without eating their phone’s minutes.
So, once again I ask my readers: where’s your iPhone App?