Image by Flipp.
Technology is helping retailers and grocers deliver more value and convenience to consumers than ever before. Flipp is a mobile app that helps consumers find flyers and coupons offered by retailers, compare prices, and better plan their shopping trips. For consumers, Flipp eliminates the hassle of looking through weekly printed flyers and circulars by allowing them to search for relevant deals directly from their mobile devices. For retailers, Flipp improves sales by increasing marketing reach and giving consumers more personalized deals.
Retail Category Consultants tested the app in both Canada and the U.S. to learn about the customer experience, opportunities for retailers, and where it can improve to better satisfy customer needs.
How Flipp Works
Flipp is quick to install and works intuitively. After downloading the app, you add your location by clicking on “Locate Me” or by typing in your postal or zip code. Then you pick your favorite stores or choose to see all (which customizes the deals you will see) and you are taken to the main Flipp screen, where you can browse flyers, find coupons to clip and print, and search for specific products using the Shopping List feature.
The Shopping List feature is more than just a shopping list. You can search for specific product categories or terms and the app will automatically generate matching coupons and deals, if available.
According to Jeff Francis, Manager Director, Flipp Customer: “While flyers are associated with specific stores, coupons generally apply beyond set geographical boundaries and can apply at a range of stores.”
Using Flipp to Shop for Groceries
We wanted to search for two items: chicken broth and kale. After typing in both items, Flipp automatically added chicken broth under “Pantry” and kale under “Produce”.
This was a handy feature that organized generated deals and will undoubtedly make the in-store shopping experience easier as well. Flyers were generated for chicken broth and kale. Adding the kale deal was simple. However, the search function searches via keyword. This means that the deals generated included all deals that contained a specific keyword. If we searched for blueberries, the app will generate deals for blueberry flavoured vitamins as well. In the U.S., when we selected the stores where we would like to shop, it scanned for deals everywhere and we received ads and deals for stores that we have never heard of.
According to Francis, Flipp’s search function is meant to bring users to the most deals at the broadest selection of stores within their area. Therefore, when we searched for blueberries, it generated other deals at other stores that had the blueberry keyword in them. While the idea of bringing the broadest selection of deals sounds smart, in practice, we spent more time trying to find the relevant items.
When we clicked on the kale deal and added it to our Clippings List, a pop-up helpfully told us that the kale deal was expiring today. We were also notified that this flyer applied only to select Sobeys stores, and after clicking on the information icon, we found the location of the store with the deal. This is a great feature that saved us a wasted trip to our regular Sobeys location. We went to the correct location (albeit 4 miles more than our regular location) and successfully redeemed the kale deal, exactly as shown.
In The U.S., a deal we wanted was at a store that was 20 miles away. We felt that this was too far away for cents off a grocery deal. It would be helpful if the app had some logic to only show deals based on what is logical for our location and the value they were delivering. It’s important to note that in the U.S., to get store specific coupons, consumers would receive them automatically by scanning their loyalty cards in-store. So, the only coupons we would get to clip using Flipp would be manufacturer coupons.
In Canada, we had a minor hiccup with the chicken broth deal. The flyer was clearly from T&T Supermarket, the Asian-Canadian supermarket chain that was purchased by Loblaws, but the name of the store and the information generated pointed us to a Loblaws location. However, we give Flipp kudos for adding in a Feedback section in the information page. We selected “Wrong Flyer” and submitted it to Flipp so that they can correct the misinformation.
Helping Retailers Satisfy Evolving Consumer Needs
The RCC Consumer Shopping Lens identified the five consumer needs that retailers must satisfy to get consumers to purchase. Flipp helps retailers satisfy some of these needs.
- Discovery is aided by Flipp’s easy-to-browse collection of featured, alphabetized, or new flyers.
- Convenience is added by allowing consumers to search and locate favourite or local product deals without leaving the house. Smart additional features, like pop-ups that tell you which deals are expiring soon, which deals apply to select stores, or which coupons require printing, save consumers time in the long run.
- Value is delivered to consumers as they can easily compare deals across a wide selection of flyers and circulars.
- There is also good Transparency. Throughout our Flipp experience, notifications informed us when some flyer items may not be exactly as shown, and the invitation to give feedback in case of misinformation may help improve future experiences.
Areas for Improvement
Like any technology, the devil is in the details. Showing the wrong information or flyer, like the T&T Supermarkets flyer that led us to a Loblaws store, breaks up the shopping experience and does not deliver Convenience or Value to busy consumers. Having wider marketing reach is a plus, but only if it is delivered seamlessly.
We also noted that it was inconvenient to go to many stores to get all your groceries. There currently isn’t a feature that calculates how to get the lowest overall price based on shopping only one store. But Flipp is constantly adding new features to help their users save time and money, so we expect improvements in this area.
“We make it quick and easy to find the most deals so that our users can decide the best way for them to shop,” Francis said. “We’re always listening to our users and further store location related features is a big area of focus for us.”
Delivering on What Customers Want
Flipp is just one of the many apps and technology solutions released in recent years to make life easier for customers. Think of how quickly Apple Pay won over shoppers and retailers through their understanding of consumer needs, or smart partnerships between brands and services that deliver an exceptional experience.
The trend is clear: consumers want to dictate their shopping experiences and find the products and services they want—how, when, and where they want it. There are more tools to help them do this than ever before. As a retailer, do you understand what consumers are looking for and how to deliver on their needs in order to stand out?