Magazine article Marketing

Andrew Walmsley on Digital: The Great Value Mashup

Magazine article Marketing

Andrew Walmsley on Digital: The Great Value Mashup

Article excerpt

Services such as and add value for both brands and consumers.

Before leisure time was invented, the hours between work and sleep were divided in approximately equal proportion between church, childbearing/the pub (delete as applicable) and staring at the wall. Not always comfortable, but it was nevertheless a routine.

Now we like to spend as much of our time as possible in supermarkets, pushing a trolley the size of a shipping container while trying to remember what we came in for and where the stock cubes are.

Retailers such as Marks & Spencer are sensitive to customers' desire to maximise their time in the store, and obligingly move the stock around regularly so that it's harder for customers to find what they want After all, spending hours seeking the coleslaw is far more satisfying than going straight to it.

Most of the major supermarkets have launched online operations that speed this up, with even Amazon getting in on the groceries act. But such websites account for less than 5% of the market's value, leaving 95% in the hands of the cart-pushers. is a US start-up that is looking to create a business out of all that angst. Consumers upload their shopping list to the website, which then uses a database of store layouts to locate the items in the real world, with aisle numbers helpfully detailed.

This saves time for shoppers, while the supermarkets get to promote their product range. The potential here is interesting: tie-ins with recipe sites, allowing users to import shopping lists based on recipes; in-store promotions from the retailers; barcode-scanning coupons from manufacturers; tie-ins with review sites; directions for vegan, kosher, gluten-free diets.

It is an area that is attracting interest from several quarters. GroceryIQ, a subsidiary of, does much the same thing as Aislefinder. Fastmall, meanwhile, runs a similar service covering shopping centres in 25 countries, including the UK, giving GPS directions to stores, restaurants and, of course, promotions.

All these services are mashing up product data, location mapping and user information with commercial propositions to solve a problem that was previously seen as just a fact of life - something so inherently normal that the question simply wasn't asked.

A more interesting question is answered by Assisted Serendipity, and the better-named

Assisted Serendipity wins on functionality and its appeal to both sexes. …

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