Woolworths launches Android app

Ability to shop online via dedicated mobile app still unavailable

Woolworths has launched its shopping app for Android, following strong demand from its iOS cousin.

The Android-based app allows users to find their nearest store via GPS, and access offers for Everyday Rewards members and fuel savings vouchers.

Users can also create, edit, save and share shopping lists; search for products by name or category; scan a barcode in-store; and add it to a shopping list.

The app also displays weekly catalogue specials and allows users to access recipe ideas. Recipe ingredients can be added to shopping lists.

At the time of writing, between up to 5000 iterations of the app had been downloaded.

The launch of the app follows some 670,000 Australian downloads of Woolworths app for iPhone.

Arch-rival Coles also offers its Coles Express app aimed at helping users locate and plan trips to their local store. It also offers a Shopmate app offering similar functionality to Woolworths app.

Both apps are currently available for iPhone and iPad only, but Android-based versions are understood to be in the works.

However, despite the apparent embrace of mobile technology by both retailing giants, neither currently allows users to shop online via dedicated mobile apps.

This ongoing ambivalence to online retail in favour of directing consumers to use existing bricks and mortar outlets was highlighted in the August release of the Productivity Commission’s Economic Structure and Performance of the Australian Retail Industry draft report.

According to the report, an attitude among larger retailers that the purpose of websites was to promote retail sales rather than facilitate online sales was prevalent.

“While department stores such as Myer and David Jones and large retailers such as Harvey Norman have had an online presence for some time, their websites appeared designed more to provide information on the range and specifications of goods they sell rather than to aggressively pursue online sales,” the report reads.

“Larger retailers may have been reluctant to invest in fledgling online infrastructure given their already heavy investment in large retail shopping facilities.

According to the report efforts at moving toward online shopping had been undertaken in a way so as to minimise cannibalising sales from traditional retail operations.

“In other words, the move into online retailing by some appears to be an attempt to protect market share from competitive online sellers and other competitors rather than expanding their business,” the report reads.

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @Tlohman

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