The Consumer Electronic Show, which is being held in Las Vegas from January 6 to 9 this year, has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years. This year show is of a particular interest for FinTech as MasterCard presented Groceries by MasterCard today, a new app that enables consumers to order groceries directly from Samsung’s new Family Hub refrigerator. The smart refrigerator will be available in the US in May this year.
Groceries by MasterCard is the first shopping app to be integrated into a refrigerator. The app reinvents the way consumers do their groceries, allowing them to share, build, manage and modify their grocery lists and shopping carts throughout the week.
Betty DeVita, Chief Commercial Officer at MasterCard Labs, commented in the press release, “In a world where every device – from the phone to the refrigerator – is connected to the Internet, the ways in which consumers interact and transact with their favorite brands are changing. We’re developing compelling, safe and seamless commerce experiences for consumers across channels and devices as we continue to eliminate the boundaries between how we shop and how we pay.”
As a result of the collaboration between MasterCard Labs and Samsung, the app will be preloaded in Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerators. Once launched, the app will allow consumers to select and purchase items from their favorite brands and integration partners like FreshDirect, and ShopRite, the largest supermarket cooperative in the country, as stated in the press release.
The final approval for purchase of the items in the cart is happening through a four-digit PIN. After that, items are paid for in a straightforward checkout experience that accepts any US-issued credit and debit cards. Merchants take the responsibility to deliver the order, thereby eliminating middlemen.
The most interesting part doesn’t end there. The app is able to learn a family’s shopping habits, making personalized suggestions on items and brands. New features will continue to roll out, including recipe and video integration, according to the press release.
During the rollout this year, more merchants will be onboarded for shopping with Groceries through MasterCard’s partnership with MyWebGrocer, which provides e-commerce and digital marketing solutions for more than 130 grocers globally.
Speaking with regard to the technology, Eric Healy, President of MyWebGrocer, commented, “Commerce-enabled devices like the Family Hub refrigerator represent an unprecedented opportunity for our customers because it puts them right where the consumer path to purchase begins: in the kitchen. We look forward to leveraging the open, API-centric capabilities of our Digital Experience Platform to advance our partnership with MasterCard and enable grocers and CPG brands to capitalize on the way in which the IoT revolution will transform the grocery shopping experience.”
In addition to learning capabilities and groceries directory expansion, MasterCard has also developed a companion mobile app for Groceries, which allows multiple members of a family to add to a single cart from a device of their choice.
There is more: in order for consumers to easily add an ending product to the cart, they can simply scan barcodes on those products to automatically add them to the online shopping cart.
“Just as Family Hub changes the way we interact with our fridge, the new Groceries app will change how consumers shop,” said John Herrington, Senior Vice President, General Manager of Home Appliances, Samsung Electronics America.
MasterCard’s partnerships with FreshDirect, MyWebGrocer and ShopRite as well as all future groceries added to the list, will certainly have a positive transformative effect on the stores sales and operations in case the fridge gets anticipated consumer excitement and adoption. Groceries by MasterCard is creating a new channel of consumer engagement for launch partners.
Jodi Kahn, Chief Consumer Officer at FreshDirect shared that the new technology speaks directly to the mission to provide consumers a new, seamless way to shop for groceries right from their own kitchen.
A similar experience is now provided by a host of groceries delivery companies like Instacart, Peapod, Envoy, etc. On Instacart’s website and within the mobile app, customers can similarly add products to the carts and make payments. However, those solutions didn't get to the point of integration with home appliances and electronics. Groceries by MasterCard integrated into Samsung fridges can potentially set other groceries delivery services behind as the most common models with middlemen (the platforms themselves) add extra charge for the service, which raises the price for customers as stores don't usually reimburse it. As more grocery stores partner with MasterCard to extend the stores directory, grocery delivery services may start losing traffic and interest from the stores.