Monday, 12 October 2009

Tesco Store and Product Finder reaches 1000 downloads and 4-star rating

It's early days but I have to pass on the team's excitement that, since the iPhone Tesco Finder application arrived in the Apple App Store on Saturday, we've had just over 1,000 downloads of the application.

In addition, product search requests (which are entirely anonymous) are being serviced by the Tesco API at the average rate of once a minute.

The reviews have been good too (to date anyway) giving the app. an overall 4-star rating. A couple of criticisms too which I'll deal with in a moment but please let me savour:
TescoNav, a great idea! Works well, pricing would be a bonus but I'm very impressed!

Wow! This is a great app - so simple but so effective - and a great app if you like showing off your iPhone to your friends!!!

I used it at my local store (Brent Cross) and it found everything I was looking for. ... BTW I saw someone else using this app on their iphone in the store too - we should form a club!

Now to the criticisms, which fall into these categories:
  1. Needs some 'aesthetic care' of its interface
  2. We don't show prices
  3. We don't show real-time stock levels
  4. Doesn't work in some stores if the mobile signal is too weak

To answer, I say:
  1. Yes this application will be going on quite a journey in the care of its developer, Tom Courthold, who is looking forward to adding new facilities and updating the interfaces. It's Tom's forethought and energy that have gone into the work to build and support the application, and he's excited to take 'his baby' forward.

  2. We don't show prices because currently (like our grocery web site) we don't have access to realtime prices, only what we call 'guide prices'. Guide prices are the most expensive a product can be at Tesco - quite often in the stores the price is cheaper - and our home shopping customers actually pay these cheaper prices too. They get a pleasant surprise when they see their actual bill is less expensive than they thought it would be. It's why you can't rely on price comparison sites like MySupermarket when reviewing Tesco prices, because I understand that they 'scrape' our web site and get the guide prices and not the realtime prices for products (that's why I think Asda say they are cheaper - they compare our guide prices on MySupermarket with their own. If they saw our realtime prices I bet they would get a nasty shock!). We hope to show realtime prices at some stage soon, both on our web site and on this app.

  3. We don't show current stock levels because we couldn't be accurate. The main reason is that when a product is emptied from a shelf, it's because another customer who is probably still in the store has removed the last one(s) and staff haven't got round to re-filling the shelf. Normally staff are pretty quick at spotting gaps so if you spot one first, the customer who has removed the products is probably still in eyesight range. If Tesco Finder says a product is at the store and you can't spot it, you only need to ask a member of staff to check for you.

  4. Yes a weak mobile signal is a tricky problem, and no we don't provide public wifi in our stores. The best answer to this at the moment is that you walk towards the front of the store to pick up a stronger signal for your search, then walk to the location described. Providing free wifi is a great idea on paper but our store IT colleagues will have to think this through since we use Wifi so much ourselves in staff devices - so no promises!
As I say, it's early days for this application, and our remit is to innovate, so look out for some great new functionality as Tom takes it forwards.

And... yes the Tesco iPhone Grocery Home Shopping application is already beginning to look wonderful, with some great original thinking. What? No you can't "see some screen-shots" - be patient!


  1. Great work on the app - seems really smooth. I have a few suggestions:
    1. Use lettering to identify shelves - as in store on the SELs rather than "4th shelf".
    2. Why isn't this information avaliable on the customer service desk computers?!? It would greatly help staff members answer customer queries if we had access to other stores locations and phone numbers and information as to whether or not they stock a product. Surely if it can be done on an iPhone app it could be accessed through the CS intranet system?

  2. Hi Nick,
    I downloaded the app a while back as I used UYH ToDo lists (great app) for my shopping list. The Finder is great app for shopping but is missing a few tricks and has several "issues" (but great for a first version)...

    Some items are not listed on the app but are in store e.g. Greeting cards so I cannot add these to my shopping list. If it had a "free Text" option for the list it would get around missing items as without this it hard to use just the Finder as your shopping list.

    Once the prices are sorted then a total cost of weekly shop (even an estimated one) would be great (like on-line).

    The search option only returns a small number of matches and really needs it laid out in multiple screens e.g. 10 items per screen. on numerous occasions the item I had wanted has not come up in the results due to the number being return being capped.

    (new iPhone Developer)

  3. Can we have the same app for windows mobile users as not all of us have/want an I phone??

  4. Any chance my "Favourites" from using my Clubcard can be included in the store and product finder. That way I can build a list before I go to the store and loose WiFi signal. Otherwise, excellent apps.


As this blog grows in readership - and because it carries the Tesco brand - I have had to become more careful about the sort of comments that are acceptable. The good news is that I'm a champion of free speech so please be as praising or as critical as you wish! The only comments I DON'T allow through are:

1. Comments which criticise an individual other than myself, or are critical of an organisation other than Tesco. This is simply because they cannot defend themselves so is unfair and possibly libellous. Comments about some aspect of Tesco being better/worse than another equivalent organisation are allowed as long as you start by saying "in my personal opinion.." or "I think that...". ... followed by a "...because.." and some reasoned argument.

2. Comments which are totally unrelated to the context of the original article. If I have written about a mobile app and you start complaining about the price of potatoes then your comment isn't going stay for long!

3. Advertising / web links / spam.

4. Insulting / obscene messages.

Ok, rules done - now it's your go: