Launched by technology firm Digital Foodie, Foodie.fm claims to be the first social network to offer a social shopping platform for grocers via a fully integrated checkout with www.tesco.com.
Having purchased social media company BzzAgent back in May last year,Tesco is certainly not shy about using social media as part of its wider business strategy, and their partnership with Foodie.fm looks like another way of embracing multichannel more effectively.
Foodie.fm, available as free app on iPhone, Android and Nokia applications, as well as via the Web and Facebook, enables users to make friends with other food lovers and to swap cooking tips and recipes. Visitors can create an editable shopping list, based around a meal, by clicking on photos of recipes. For example, if a user was to click on the recipe for beef burgers, the shopping list would consist of mince meat, onions, salt, etc.
The Foodie.fm site then checks availability with Tesco before the order is placed, the customer pays and delivery is arranged.
At the core of Foodie.fm is a recommendation system that learns from a users eating and purchasing habits, and suggests recipes and groceries that match his or her taste profile. The system takes into account personal preferences like food allergies or intolerance, as well as any budgetary restrictions. This enables users to personalise their profile and allows the site to suggest recipes and groceries to match customer profiles. It is this customised shopping list that will help the consumer plan and budget for a week, or even month’s worth of meals, and the shopping that is needed for it, in one go.
Until now, food retailers and consumer packaged goods were somewhat sheltered from the toughening economy, with 40% of people spending more on groceries than 3 months ago (according to Deloitte) – a result not just determined by inflation, but the fact that the tough current economy means that people spending are more time at home cooking for themselves rather than eating out in bars and restaurants.
However, as Deloitte has pointed out in their recent Consumer Review, 40% of the value of all transactions in non-food retail are now digitally influenced, and it’s hard to believe this influence will not impact food and consumer packaged goods too moving forward.
With this in mind, food retailers would do well to explore options like Tesco’s partnership with Foodie.fm. Given the rise of the connected customer, retailers should look at strategies for integrating social and multichannel into their offering, and should look at ways at becoming an agile and fully engaged social business.