Food shoppers seem to be split into two camps: those that love food and scouting for bargains and those that hate it with a passion. Online shopping has been around for a while. Tesco, Ocado (for Waitrose), Sainsbury’s and Asda all have a strong online prescience, enabling you to shop for food from the comfort of your home and have it delivered to your door. In convenience terms, the next step is being able to order from mobile phone via an app.
Here we’re checking out what the apps are like from the major supermarkets, to find out if they are really grocery shopping buddies.
iOS and Android
Tesco is the undisputed supermarket king in the UK, so it’s hardly a surprise that the company has invested heavily in its grocery app.
To use the app you need a Tesco account, which collates your address and Tesco club card details. Book a delivery slot, then shop. Search by item, or category, each of which is split into All and Offers, so you can instantly see what’s on offer.
Other features include: Shopping List and Favourites, but the highlight is the barcode scanner. Scan the barcode of food items in your kitchen and it automatically detects it and lets you know if there are any offers. We tried it on five items and it recognised four of them. If you are a regular Tesco shopper – or use ‘named’ brands it’s a really quick way of collating your shopping list.
The interface is very simple to use, however there are a few niggles, for example if an item is on a ‘Two for £5’ deal, there’s no way of seeing what variations are in the deal.
In addition the Android version of the app, which we were using kept crashing. Which leads us to another issue – namely that it doesn’t carry over your shopping from the phone app to the browser version. After crashing about three times, we tried to continue it on our computer, only to find out basket contents weren’t stored.
Tesco Groceries offers a fantastic selection of features that can really cut down on your shopping time, however it really needs to offer cross-platform synchronisation and the Android app needs an update.
iOS and Android
Ocado provides a delivery service for Waitrose and its app is on par with Tesco for the range of features it offers
You need an account to log in, which you can do via the app. Once in Ocado is well laid out, browse by ‘All Offers,’individual items and there’s also an effective search tool.
Where Ocado trounces the competition is with the huge range of products on offer, each with a pictures, this includes some really niche items, such as ‘‘Certified Organic RAW 10+ Active Manuka Honey’ (£9.99) or Squid Tubes (£7.99). If you are a foodie, your basket will quickly mount up.
Other app features include the ability to work offline, a quick pin (so you don’t have to enter your password), barcode scanner works well and effective voice command search.
Crucially, unlike Tesco, it synchronises your data, so if you start shopping on the app, you can continue later on your computer.
Ocado products are on the whole, more expensive than Tesco, but for usability and features this is our favourite shopping app.
iOS and Android
The Sainsbury’s shopping app is very well put together, with effective search and a simple layout, but there’s one huge issue. While you can order home appliances, such as a BBQ, microwave and toys, you can’t order groceries via the app. Instead it directs you to the desktop version, which isn’t optimised for your phone. In fairness Sainsbury’s does say: We’re working on getting grocery shopping to you too – watch this space! However its not good enough in this day and age.
Otherwise the app are some neat features including extra bonus points, which you can use online and extra’s include recipes for ‘5 evening meals for £20,’ but unless you’re a Sainsbury’s stalwart keen on Nectar points, it’s not worth bothering with at the moment.
Like Sainsbury’s the Asda app doesn’t let you order groceries online. Instead it’s a simple app to help you save money.
Enter your till receipt from Asda (with a minimum of eight items) post 9am the next day and if your shopping is 10% cheaper than a competitor, you’ll get the difference, either as a voucher you redeem online or get a printed voucher. The process is a bit laborious, but undoubtedly great consumer value and there’s also an accompanying store finder. It’s a nice idea for regular Asda shoppers, but what we really want is to be able to order via the app.
mySupermarket mobile is a bit different to other apps. The offshoot to the successful website, it compares the prices of groceries from all the major supermarkets.
Even if you don’t have an account, you can look at special offers and use barcode scanner lets you compare the prices in different stores, although you have to then look at each one individually. Where this is really useful is actually in the supermarket – scan an item and you can see straight away if it’s cheaper elsewhere.
Tesco sat nav app
We should also give Tesco a special mention for its sat nav app. Available via download for Android (only) it is being trialled at the Tesco Extra Store in Romford. When you enter the store it starts as you enter the store, finding the shortest distance to your chosen product.
What is your favourite supermarket app? Let us know below: