Peapod Hits the Streets with Mobile, Shoppable Billboards

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Online grocer Peapod is featuring mobile billboards on the sides of its delivery trucks where consumers can shop on the spot using their smartphones by scanning a QR code to download a free PeapodMobile app.

Traveling to popular summer venues such as ballparks and concerts, the mobile billboards offer 23 products: six from Coca-Cola, six from Campbell Soup, six from Reckitt Benckiser and five private-label items.[more]

The initiative follows Peapod’s roll out last year of scan-and-shop billboards in commuter bus and train stations at more than 100 locations in its markets. “When we piloted the virtual stores last fall, we found that the advertising stopped people—it engaged them, and we saw mobile app downloads as a result,” said Mike Brennan, COO Peapod, Supermarket News reports. “This go-round, we’re exploring new, hyper-local platforms to communicate our convenience message of ‘Shop Anywhere, Anytime with Peapod.’”

Peapod tested the virtual grocery store concept in Chicago following a trial in Philadelphia, wrapping walls with posters resembling store shelves at the heavily trafficked State and Lake Station of Chicago’s rapid transit system. Participating brands included Coca-Cola, Barilla, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Kimberly-Clark. 

Peapod, owned by Netherlands-based Royal Ahold, is the largest Internet grocer in the US, due in part to partnerships with Ahold’s brick-and-mortar Stop & Shop and Giant supermarket chains up and down the East Coast. Founded by brothers Andrew and Thomas Parkinson in Chicago in 1989, Peapod was acquired by Ahold in 2000, but waited until 2011 to move into Manhattan and head-to-head competition with Fresh Direct which has cornered 80 percent of the market in the Big Apple.

“Peapod’s plan to win over Manhattan hinges on lower prices. It sells a 12-ounce bag of Dunkin’ Donuts original blend ground coffee for $6.99, 30 percent cheaper than FreshDirect. Evian water, Skippy peanut butter, and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes are also less expensive,” Bloomberg Businessweek notes.

Peapod is among the 50 largest online retailers nationwide with $500 million in 2012 revenue, and its mobile app and mobile-ready site together generated close to $150 million in mobile sales last year, up 50 percent from 2011. But its fine edge against the competition may be its innovative marketing and promotional campaigns like mobile billboards, which deliver not just groceries, but also on its brand promise of ‘Shop Anywhere, Anytime with Peapod.’

[Image: Supermarket News]

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