Shopper Futures: Behind the program

The program that aims to redefine the grocery shopping experience
9/15/2015

Last month, Mondelez announced eight startups selected to participate in the company's Shopper Futures program – a mobile marketing initiative that partners tech and mobile startups with retailers to transform the consumer retailer experience. The startups now work together with retailers in collaboration with Mondelez to bring in-market pilots to life over the next 90 days. We spoke with Kristi Karens, director of media and consumer engagement at Mondelez International, Canada about the program and some of the Canadian startups. Continue to follow canadiangrocer.com as we post profiles of each Canadian startup. What is the goal for Shopper Futures? Why run the program now? Shopper Futures aims to solve real shopper challenges by partnering with some of the most innovative and creative minds in the startup world.  Through intense collaboration between our brand teams, our retail partners and our startups, we’re looking at specific challenges for each team to develop pilot solutions, with the overall aim of developing scalable solutions. The time is now, and with e-commerce and omni-commerce/omni-channel the way consumers will shop, we want to get in on the ground and start identifying those solutions that we can scale across multiple brands and geographies. More than two-thirds of purchase decisions are made in-store, and the majority of smartphone shoppers use mobile devices in-store to help make those decisions. Additionally, in-person mobile payments are expected to grow exponentially over the next few years. How does it differ from 2013’s Mobile Futures? What did you learn from Mobile Futures that you’re bringing to Shopper Futures? With Shopper Futures, Mondelēz is working with startups to develop innovative solutions to current retail problems. Our highly successful Mobile Futures initiative was designed to accelerate existing mobile capabilities and incubate new ventures, with the overall goal of creating a culture of “intrapreneurship” to empower our employees to be more entrepreneurial and enable teams to move at the speed of a startup. Mobile Futures allowed us to build capabilities and test new technologies, such as location-based and proximity messaging, digital loyalty, mobile engagement gamification, and social TV, and developed a culture of readiness, willingness, and learning that we are now applying to Shopper Futures. Can you name one or two successful programs from Mobile Futures and what problems they solved? The Mobile Futures initiative resulted in several successful partnerships, including one between Stride and navigation app Waze in the U.S. that aimed to increase in-store traffic. Mondelēz Canada did not launch a Mobile Futures program, but we worked closely with our U.S. colleagues and built our partnership with Checkout 51 in the spirit of Mobile Futures. We saw an opportunity to partner with Checkout51 in its early start up stage and by working collaboratively, we pushed each other and learned from each other. What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing food makers or CPGs in the grocery store? Technology has disrupted the consumer path to purchase, and challenges are presented throughout the customer journey— from discovery through to purchase consideration. Overall, at Mondelēz we believe there is a need to better understand how to leverage mobile location and social data to drive in-store purchases, and create more relevant display advertising and personalized customer engagement programs. What ideas were you looking for from the startups? We were looking for a variety of tech solutions that would facilitate a higher level of engagement with consumers, gain critical insights into their activity, and spur shopper-driven innovation, while connecting the path to purchase out of store into the retail environment. Any insight or thoughts on some of the Canadian startups selected? Canadian startups brought some of the most innovative ideas to the table, and the four selected are the best and brightest of the bunch. We couldn’t be happier to be working with these startup partners, and look forward to the pilots that will be developed as a result of this process. Four Canadian startups will be working to develop five pilot programs in Canada and the U.S.: Aislelabs is collaborating with Mondelēz’s TRISCUIT brand and Canadian food retailer Metro on a pilot and that will enhance shoppers’ retail experiences by integrating beacon and Wi-Fi technologies. Turnstyle Solutions, a location-based marketing and analytics platform that utilizes public Wi-Fi to attract, retain and reward customers, has been selected to develop two pilot programs. In Canada, Turnstyle is collaborating with Mondelēz’s Cadbury brand and Mac’s Convenience Stores (Ontario division). In the U.S., the startup is developing a pilot with QuickCheck and Mondelēz’s Swedish Fish brand. Freckle IoT, a leader in the proximity marketing space that helps advertisers harness the opportunities presented by next generation consumer technologies, is working to develop a pilot with 7-Eleven and Mondelēz’s OREO and belVita brands in the U.S. Sampler is also working to develop a digital sampling pilot with Mondelēz’s RITZ brand and Albertsons in the U.S. We’re equally excited about the visibility and exposure our Canadian startups will gain, both within Canada and the U.S.  Some Canadian startups are working exclusively with our brands and retailers in the U.S., which provides an amazing opportunity for growth. What do you think is the benefit from working directly with retailers? How did you approach them to sign onto the program? Mondelēz reached out directly to several of our key retail partners and they were excited about the opportunity to be part of our mutually beneficial program. The real benefit of the program is the ability to practically demonstrate our solutions via in-market pilots. Partnering with retailers will allow us to collaborate and build prototypes that will work in the real world and have the ability to be scaled out quickly. How will the retailers, Mondelēz brands, and startups be working together? Shopper Futures has paired Mondelēz brands and Shopper Marketers with retailers who share similar issues and opportunities. Together, the brand and retailer teams are working with the startup partners to build pilot programs that will be executed in-market within 90 days. Once we assess the outcomes of the pilot projects, our goal is to develop scale-able shopper learnings and solutions by the end of the year.

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