Grocery Shopping and The iPhone
Photo by 3lo0o
Here’s a question from a reader (and also a former member of my high school basketball team–well, before I quit because the coach threw a ball at my head after I corrected his grammar in front of the team, again. And also because I kind of sucked):
I have been looking for an app on the iPhone that will track the price of different items at different stores, so that if you find something on sale you can look up how much it costs normally and see if it’s a deal (including cost per ounce, etc., so I can compare to Costco sizes). Have you found anything like this on the iPhone? I downloaded this “Shopper” one but I don’t think it’s quite what I’m looking for… more about making shopping lists than comparing prices, as far as I can tell. I figured if anyone would know this, it would be you. thanks! -akd
I do remember reading about a Google App that makes its product search function compatible with the iPhone and the Google phone. This allows you to look up online prices for many items while you’re shopping. You can learn more about it here, but that won’t be useful for groceries. Amazon has a similar product called Amazon for Mobile, but again, this is going to be useful on things like electronics, etc., rather than groceries.
I was not able to find any kind of app that updates grocery prices automatically–like something that knows what things cost at specific stores at certain times. That would be awesome, and they have the technology to do it with GPS, but I don’t believe it exists (yet). So, programmers? Get on that. There are many comparison apps that allow you to input prices for items at different stores; for example, Groceries is an application that seems to be a little bit more functional than the one I have (Shopper). Though you still have to input the prices yourself, you can arrange it according to store or aisle without a bunch of clicking around. It aparently also already knows a lot more groceries (by brand name) than Shopper, which was an issue for me because I kept having to customize the shopping lists. You can make different lists for each supermarket or shopping trip. It does not have a function to figure out prices-per-ounce, but you could always use another app like Compare It to do this. Or the calculator function, I suppose.
Here’s the thing: I did not find shopping with an iPhone to be very convenient, personally. I should add that I have not used the Groceries app, and it does sound faster and more functional than Shopper. This could make a big difference. But the last time I tried to comparison shop with my iPhone, I found myself standing in the aisle, tapping on the screen eighty-five million times, trying to figure out if things were well priced, etc. It felt like I was always in somebody’s way. The iPhone does allow me to always have my list with me, which is a real time saver for me because I’m always forgetting lists at home. But overall, I guess I’m making the (dubious) claim that my brain is the more accessible and user-friendly computer for the purpose of tracking grocery prices, even if it’s not always exactly right to the penny. So until my mind finally goes, I’ll probably not use the iPhone for price comparisons.
Anyone disagree with me or have better tips for using the iPhone for shopping and/or price comparisons?