Dollar General is the largest dollar store chain in the United States. In addition to leading the way through many innovations in the dollar store category, Dollar General is leading the segment in consumer-enabling technology and was the first dollar store to launch a fully-functional suite of native mobile applications for iOS and Android.
The challenge: finding new ways to compete with big-box competitors
Dollar General wanted to move beyond their “dollar store” niche to expand their market and compete with some of the biggest stores like Wal-Mart. To do that, they needed to offer better product alternatives to what the major chains carried while providing advantages of scale.
They began identifying smaller, more local sources of quality products that they could sell in regional markets at a better price. In addition, they found solutions for markets that were underserved, such as offering fresh produce in urban areas where grocery stores lacked fresh fruits and vegetables.
Making this strategy work would require a great mobile solution, so customers could quickly select a store and see discounts, specials and features on a store-by-store basis, even before leaving home.
They looked at a series of mobile options, but the available options were deemed to be incomplete and lacking the quality that Dollar General wanted to achieve. The solutions offered by large system integrators seemed slow to implement and lacked imaginative features. Dollar General wanted something that met their specific needs at a reasonable price, and that was going to be able to evolve quickly and grow as they expanded into these new markets.
The solution: a Heroku-powered app poised for growth
After considering the alternatives, Dollar General engaged Taqtile Mobility, a mobile software platform and services company that builds mobile solutions for retail customers on the Heroku platform. What convinced Dollar General to choose a Heroku solution for building its mobile applications was the combination of lower cost, high performance, reliability, and ability to modify and expand the solution easily.
The result is a Dollar General mobile app, powered by Heroku, that let them integrate their standard retail marketing with social media, direct marketing and targeted outreach to local customers. Part of the solution involved moving from a traditional print media orientation to a more web-based and social media driven model that takes advantage of the mobile platform.
Dollar General launched their native mobile applications for iOS and Android with a great set of initial features that included ads, coupons and store locations, giving shoppers access to Dollar General anytime, anywhere in the palm of their hand. And they see this as just the beginning — they plan to adapt to changing customer needs by adding new features and iterating on the app as their business expands and evolves.
App experience: giving shoppers what they want with the tap of a button
Customers who download the application are the first to learn about upcoming sales and can take advantage of special discounts and coupons available on the Dollar General mobile app and mobile site. They can also search inventories by product category or name, find specialty stores, and create shopping lists and share them via email or text message. And, as part of an overall marketing strategy, the app has a feature to highlight the availability of fresh produce in certain stores, a new initiative for Dollar General. The mobile app drives awareness and helps bring customers into the stores.