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Can A Grocery Shopping App That Plots Optimal Route Around Supermarkets Help UK Fall In Love With Food Shopping Again?

They say the best start-up ideas are the ones that make you wonder why you didn’t do it yourself .

Well, who hasn’t dreamed of performing the ultimate “supermarket sweep” – planning your journey around the store in advance, avoiding making it all the way to aisle 16 before realising your last item is located back in aisle 1?

It’s happened to all of us, but now there may be a solution in the form of a new iOS app that can rearrange the items on your shopping list for you, according to their in-store location.

Ubamarket “combines the efficiency of online retail with the benefits of the in-store experience”, introducing a potentially game-changing 4-step format designed to make physical shopping as logical and hassle free as its online equivalent.

First users input their shopping list into the app, then, upon arrival at the supermarket or store, they are guided from product to product as the app maps the most convenient route.

Using the app’s built-in scanner, shoppers scan items as they go, enabling Ubamarket to tot up prices, and remove items from your list as they are located and added to the trolley.

Finally, and crucially, at the checkout, there are no queues to negotiate – just tap your smartphone at a payment point and payment is taken. No conveyor belts, no onerous repackaging of items at the other side of the till. Sadly, the app cannot assist with transferring your bags into the boot of your car.

The idea is the brainchild of Will Broome, CEO, and has been built and developed by a network of “the finest technicians, system architects, designers, project managers, coders, developers from all over the world”, he says, as well as with help from co-founder Luke Davis. Those familiar with the start-up scene may recognise the names – Broome and Davis are also the team behind Crowdfinders, who run events on behalf of the crowdfunding industry – Davis is also CEO of IW Capital, a Private Equity House in Mayfair.

“We as consumers are more demanding than ever! I hope Ubamarket™ will be the saviour of the supermarket, and streamline our shopping experience, whilst boosting the footfall for retailers” says Broome in a recent press release.

The app has been launched in conjunction with HTEC Ltd, a “leading payment and loyalty solutions supplier”, who are part of Universe Group Plc, owners of supermarket and grocery store chains Morrisons, Budgens, Nisa and Spar, and is due for launch in stores before the end of the year. Ubamarket say their app can be compatible with any store in the UK within three days of installation.

Ubamarket’s patent-pending technology may well come as a relief to the UK’s beleaguered shoppers, as the company says that research shows 66% of UK shoppers are frustrated by the nation’s 10,308 supermarkets and have indicated a preference for doing their shopping online.

In a “nationally representative” survey of over 2,000 adults, over a quarter agreed that grocery shopping was their least favourite shopping activity, 17.8 million cited long checkout queues as their top deterrent from buying food in-store, and nearly 70% said they were actively looking for a solution that combined online efficiency with the benefits of the in-store experience.

Up to 4.2 million fed-up Millennials have reportedly reduced the amount of grocery shopping they do, whilst a further 82% are searching for an online / offline solution.

Hey Presto! Could Ubamarket be poised to end a generation of grocery shopping hell? Because the app can link seamlessly to customer’s loyalty cards, shoppers can expect to receive targeted, real-time offers as they shop, which will doubtless delight some, and infuriate others.

So far, the Ubamarket has been successfully trialled at Warner’s Budgens in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, but Broome has promised that “chances are, it’ll be in a store near you soon.”

Says Guy Warner, MD of Warner’s Budgens Supermarkets, “I’m delighted to be the first store in the world to offer Ubamarket to our Taste Club members and customers, I feel that this revolutionary new app will effectively bridge the gap between online convenience and the in-store experience that Warner’s Budgens shoppers enjoy.”

Broome has described the development of the app to date as “Darwinian”. If shoppers agree, one small step with a trolley may well come to be viewed as a giant leap for mankind.

But will it work in smaller grocers, or will 100 trolley wielding shoppers with eyes glued to their smartphone screens be constantly bumping into one another? Perhaps, in time, Ubamarket will find an ingenious solution to that, too.

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