On a daily basis, grocery stores across the U.S. have a surplus of perfectly good food items that are reaching their ‘best by’ date and are often left unsold, adding up to a combined $37 billion a year in lost revenue. Flashfood is a mobile marketplace (app) that connects local shoppers with your store's surplus food as it nears its ‘best by’ date. Shoppers browse the deals on their phone, pay through the Flashfood app and pick it up in your store—this drives shopper traffic, reduces shrink, and improves your bottom line.
IGA's VP of Business Partnerships Heidi Huff spoke with Flashfood, a new Red Oval partner, about their app and marketplace and how IGA retailers can benefit from the partnership.
What makes Flashfood’s marketplace different from your competitors?
What started as a simple idea to bring the discount rack into the digital age in order to divert more food from landfills, has now developed into a growing online marketplace that enables grocery retailers to attract new shoppers to their locations. With our focus on savings and sustainability, we have users who fall into the categories of families, young professionals, and retired folks, all who are conscious about not only saving money but also saving the planet.
The average Flashfood shopper buys approximately $12 worth of items on Flashfood. When they come in to pick-up their order, what we’re finding is that they spend about $1.50 on full margin items in-store for every $1 spent on Flashfood. So, a shopper who is purchasing, for example, ground beef on Flashfood would then buy pasta, a few veggies and tomato sauce, as well as perhaps some ice cream and make a full meal out of it for that night.
Why is the independent sector important for your business?
Independent grocery retailers are core to the fabric of communities across America. From supporting not only local schools and youth athletics but also local farmers and makers, food start-ups, and breweries in the area, independent grocery retailers and the knowledge and trust they have built in the community is invaluable, especially to a company like ours who is newer to the market. IGA, with your focus on Local Equals Fresh, couldn't be a better fit for Flashfood. We can help each other further our collective missions to serve up fresh food in local markets, often supplied by local growers.
How do you prioritize independent retailers to ensure they have equal access to your marketplace?
Flashfood’s marketplace continues to become more and more efficient matching supply (food nearing its best by date) with demand (local shoppers) as more grocery retailers join. In some of our most engaged markets we sell more than 80 percent of what is posted onto Flashfood.
Our team has invested in and are continuing to invest in the technology to make it as seamless as possible to onboard new retailers and get them set-up. We can have retailers ready to start posting items to Flashfood within a few weeks, no matter if they have 1, 5, or 15 stores.
How can our retailers ensure shoppers know they are on Flashfood?
The Flashfood Marketing team does a lot of the heavy lifting to promote the app in your area from localized social media ads, tv segments, and radio ads among other initiatives, including our community team.
In-store activities are where we rely on our grocer retail partners to get the word out. This can be done through a number of options depending on what fits best with your store’s look and feel, and can include in-store radio announcements, stanchion signs, or flyers alongside the Flashfood cooler that shoppers have learned to look for. Our newly launched referral program also allows retailers to share the app with family and friends in the community and get the word out!
How is Flashfood focusing on innovation?
As a technology company, we are always innovating to make the Flashfood app and experience better for both our shoppers and our grocery retail partners. We are incredibly proud of the referrals program that we just launched to get more shoppers onto the app, and buying the food that needs to find a home before it’s too late. We recently translated the app into Spanish to make it even more accessible. We’re also looking at new ways to improve the posting flow for in-store associates, and regularly ask for feedback from our grocery retail partners whose guidance and insight helps to shape our product roadmap.
As we emerge from the pandemic, shopper behavior is changing a bit. How do you think that will affect your marketplace, if at all, and what can retailers do to address those changes?
A recent study revealed that 43 percent of consumers feel sustainability is 'extremely important,' up from 28 percent before the pandemic. Investing in your sustainability efforts is no longer just a nice to have. We know that when food goes to the landfill it produces methane gas, which is 25 times more harmful for the environment than carbon dioxide.
We are excited by the trend towards more environmentally-conscious consumers, and have created a solution that doesn’t require a large upfront investment by grocery retailers in order to take advantage of these trends in shopper preferences.
Who should retailers or wholesalers contact if they have questions about Flashfood?
Reach out directly to Mitch Harrison on Flashfood’s Partnerships team at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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