Ranking the Stars

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at our contesters in the smart grocery list app arena. How well are the finalist meeting our criteria and what is their ambition?

I’m watching the Victoria’s Secret 2013 fashion show on Dutch television tonight in parallel to writing this post, so might get distracted from time to time. Please bear with me Glimlach.

Our three competitors as identified in the previous post are:

 

I’ve downloaded all three apps on a brand new Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 and plan to put a simple list of my stock list in there. To start with three products: Milk, Muesli and Spaghetti. Below picture shows the exact products that I will be looking for in the apps. This is a screen capture of the lovely Appie app, which has fallen out of our shortlist because it belongs to a particular brand of stores. So we’ve got some references to quantity, product brand and prices.

products

Aanbieding

The Aanbieding app allows searching for products. Searching for ‘Melk’ (milk) did not give me any results for the dairy product we were intending to find. Neither does this app know about ‘Cruesli’ or ‘Muesli’ for that matter. It does return a single result for ‘Spaghetti’, but not for our familiar A-brand. Disappointing …

Furthermore, the app does not look very appealing, the ‘search a shop near you’ does not actually show a map and all feels a bit sluggish. This does not get anywhere near what I am looking for, maybe except for the information model that in essence seems to be the basis for the app, knowing about products, shops, brands, locations and prices. All ingredients for success are there Glimlach.

Supermarkt+

Searching for products is also available in the Supermarkt+ app. And I get results returned for all my products. There are some severe glitches however. For the milk, I cannot find my preferred brand and quantity, while other quantities and brands for the same shop are returned. And there is something fishy going on with the paging mechanism, it keeps repeating the  same items as if they were new ones, indefinitely extending the list.

It found the Cruesli, but without image or price. The only thing found perfectly was the Spaghetti with proper brand, image and quality. The price is 1,03 euro which is 14 cents less than our reference. More than 10% cost saving, nice! The app does not expose any knowledge about location of shops, which is an essential ingredient for our app. Bummer …

Boodschapp

The Boodschapp app does return all my products with correct branding, shops, images and quantity. The app also looks best of all three and the user interface is quite easy to use, including a bar code scanner to use for searching you stock products, great! But …

The intent of the app does not comply with our most important requirements being cost savings. It does not give prices with the products. It does do a weird way of indicating if one product is cheaper than the other, so we can assume it does know the price to be able to do that, but it is not visible to the end-user. The foremost intent of the app is to indicate the quality of the product, like how (un)healthy it is, if it is produced with health of animals and environment in mind. That kind of stuff. Very useful, but not helping us achieve our selfish cost savings oriented goals. Location information is also lacking, so what seemed to be the best of three, is still not what we are looking for.

Now what?

We’re stuck a bit in our quest to The App. It should be there, right? Well … maybe we searched the wrong way and got to a wrong shortlist. So I did two things:

  • Redo the search for product prices
  • Quickly review some grocery list apps that seemed to be targeting the Dutch market and were suggested by the Play Store (as ‘Other users also installed this’ or ‘Related apps’

Redoing the search for product prices gives a overwhelming number of results on price comparison sites and apps, but none are specifically about groceries, which makes it sort of an unrecognized niche market, it seems. Reviewing some of the other apps in the Play Store are essentially all allowing to create a grocery list, but none of them is coupled to price information of shops in the Netherlands, or only promoting special offers. And we can not live from only promotional articles, trust me.

This additional field work makes me comfortable enough with the notion that … our app is not there yet, or at least will not be easily found by the average John Doe. So maybe after all, we might need to think about making our own. And that’s what we are going to do in the next post!

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