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A grocery list on your wrist

Metro becomes first Canadian grocer to develop app for the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is also the milk, eggs and bread watch with the launch of Metro’s new app for the wearable device.

Metro is the first Canadian grocery retailer to have a presence on the Apple Watch, although vice-president and chief marketing and communications officer Marc Giroux said that wasn’t a key consideration in Thursday’s introduction.

“Metro is not focused on being first – Metro is focused on being customer-first,” said Giroux. “It wasn’t that expensive to develop, it only took us about a month-and-a-half, and we think it’s a great way to leverage technology for our customers. It’s a privilege for a brand to be on their customers’ wrist on a day-to-day basis.”

READ: Metro preps for future of online grocery

The new app allows users to manage a grocery list on their Apple Watch, ticking off items as they proceed through a Metro store. It also notifies users when new coupons and flyers are available online, although they have to use a smartphone to view them.

“Our strategy was really to keep is simple,” said Giroux, noting that the Apple Watch’s smaller screen limits the amount of information it can convey to users. “It would have been a mistake to replicate our mobile app, so we brought functionality that consumers will be able to use in-store.”

While acknowledging that Apple Watch penetration is modest (Apple hasn’t disclosed sales figures, but a recent report said that U.S. sales have plummeted from approximately 35,000 per day in April to 2,500 per day in June), Giroux said the app will be helpful in furthering Metro’s leadership position in the technology space and engaging consumers.

Other grocery retailers have introduced Apple Watch apps with similar functionality, including Marks & Spencer’s “Cook with M&S” app and the U.S. chain Marsh Supermarkets.

READ: Metro gets personal with ‘Just for Me’

The new app is part of what Giroux called a new “digital ecosystem” introduced by Metro in 2009 and overhauled in the fall of 2013. The objective, he says, was to “simplify the lives of our customers by giving them tools to more easily build their grocery list and improve their shopping experience.”

Giroux would not disclose how many people have downloaded the My Metro app, citing competitive reasons, but said that downloads have tripled since it introduced its “Just for Me” program in March. He said that Metro now boasts the largest digital ecosystem in the Canadian grocery industry, including the most-visited website and most downloaded app.

With “Just for Me,” members of Metro’s Quebec-based “Metro & Moi and its Ontario Air Miles loyalty program who have linked their card to the app now receive a personalized flyer highlighting weekly specials that reflect their shopping preferences, along with personalized recipes.

“The key driver is relevance,” said Giroux. “Customers are flooded with communication these days, and are expecting brands to deliver value that is relevant to them. That’s what we’ve been able to accomplish with this program.”

While Giroux wouldn’t disclose numbers, he said that customers who have linked their loyalty card to the My Metro app are more loyal to the brand, have a good perception of the brand and are likely to spend more when shopping.

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