OPINIONTechnology

New Apps Help to Incentivize Waste Reduction

Dynamic pricing apps are a good idea, but user experience could improve

The Lempert Report

Meijer has launched a new app aimed at reducing food waste, all while saving customers money. Flashfood is an app that customers use to purchase food nearing its sell-by date—including meat, produce, seafood, deli and bakery products—at up to 50% off.

A good idea, but unfortunately the shopper execution is a bit cumbersome, which may well diminish its effectiveness. Shoppers go to the app before they go to the store, select their favorite Meijer store, choose the items they want to purchase, and pay for them directly in the app. Then, they have to go in-store to pick up their items and confirm their order with customer service. The purchased food is stored in a refrigerator or storage rack located in the front of the store until the customer picks it up. Whew.

And there is another app, Cherripick, that is similar.  

I spoke with founders Marco Ignacio and J.C. Milam, who designed their app to provide shopper incentive for the product that sits on the edge of the shelf, i.e, the one that's nearing expiration to actually come off the shelf.

Through Cherripick, users are rewarded for buying an item that nears expiration. So if it's within three days, buy it as you normally would. It doesn't interfere with any sales deals or coupons. Do that as you may. And then after, you just snap a picture of the receipt and the expiration date. And then once it is validated on Cherripick's end, within 24-48 hours, cash back is loaded to the user's account. 

The reward, or incentive, is 10% in cash back. Also a bit cumbersome. 

So where does the 10% money come from? In the case of Cherripick, they are hoping that the retailer will ultimately fund the discount—but for now their seed capital is funding it.

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