This next series I’m surprised how many ideas I got concerning grocery shopping and meal planning. It seems it’s a real pain for us and I didn’t really realize it until I started writing these columns.
The first idea from this topic is quite old, I added it before the IPhone launches. My girlfriend was making trips to multiple supermarkets to buy our groceries and to save a few dollars. I was wondering if this grocery price comparison could be done by a service. The idea makes even more sense with a phone app since you don’t need to print out all your receipts before going grocery shopping.
Service #1: centralize all store price (from circular and flyers) in one place
The first part is to have all those pesky circular we receive in one place, nowadays they are sites like this (like flyerbox). You could use them or create your own. The other part would be to take these circular and put it in a db, so we can run some comparison.
The thing here is that not all items are available in the flyers. If the store has an online store, we could build a bot to scrape all their data weekly. If not we could ask our user to do it for us and reward them for doing so through a karma system (more on the later) that gives reward on a certain threshold.
Service #2: compare prices between providers and make suggestions based on the user.
While getting customer data might be hard nowadays compared to the far west of the 2010s, if your customer uses the app for shopping you should have enough to start making predictions after a while. Depends on how much your customer want to let you tracks. It could only be their actions in the app (searching for a store, location, deal they save, etc.) or more intrusive like ask for their texts so it allows their significant other to text to get some milk and add it to their list.
If they make their grocery list on the apps, the apps can then try to find the best deal for the user. It can ask for each item what is the cheapest place to go or where is the best shop for the lowest grocery bills for this list.
How to make money from all this
With all those coupon flyers the service could partner up with local grocery stores and offer in house coupons targeted at what the user usually buys. The service will get a cut of the offer like an affiliate marketing offer.
Ads on the app are another straightforward way to get some revenue. Since we know what they buy could be targeted instead of using a generic service or even sell some to the local store. On the spot discount.
Since the app would be used in store to look at the list or to scan in store items. The app could detect the user location and offer a coupon for the store they are in. It might be for something they might not have the intention of buying at the moment, making the store an extra sale and your apps will make an extra commission.
Some stores offer surveys on their receipt for a prize, the app could do that. Store would pay a fee so the app would offer a survey to a customer after visiting a store. The app could use that money to give prizes to the user or/and use the karma system to reward the user when completing the survey.
Some apps give money or reward for scanning your receipt, the app could do the same. Receipt scanning could be used to store what has been bought and at what price too. Helping build the user profile and suggest similar items in the future.
To help users fill their shopping list you could allow them to take a picture or scan a barcode to find what they are looking for. There are many barcode apps these days and most of them are paid so this could be a paid feature.