Grocery stores are all about choices. Granny smith or red delicious? Organic or conventional? Two for one or BOGO? Customers can get overwhelmed, but they're turning to smartphone apps that make shopping experiences a bit smoother.
Here are some of the most creative ways which shoppers are taking advantage of their iPhones in the grocery store aisles:
1. SMART SHOPPING LISTS
Forget the pen-and-paper version scrawled on the back of a used envelope. A number of apps enable shoppers to keep track of what they’re seeking to buy and much more. Apps such as Shopping List help you do just that, simply separating items into categories like “dairy” and “tinned food that you can check off when completed.
If you’ve already got your grocery list written, coupon clipping can be a bit of a scavenger hunt – and not the fun kind. Put down the scissors. With apps such as Pushpins, shoppers can browse coupons related to items they’re already planning to buy, saving tons of time and money.
3. GATHERING RECIPE IDEAS
Most households get in a rut when they navigate the grocery store aisles. Bread? Check. Milk? Check. Green apples? Check. But change is good. If you’re looking to whip up an elaborate dinner spread or a new quick weekly staple dish, programs such as the Whole Foods recipe app can help you create shopping lists specific to your recipe. You can even separate recipes in categories like budget-friendly, gluten-free, and under 30 minutes.
4. NUTRITION TRACKING
Beyond price, most multi-purpose grocery store-friendly apps provide a function that allows shoppers to compare across price AND nutrition differences. Take Apples2Oranges, a nifty unit conversion app that allows you to compare data of items by individual “units” instead of the whole package. That can come in handy when, for example, you want to compare calories in one cookie instead of 4 grams worth of cookie, as serving sizes sometimes try to dupe you with.
5. PANTRY MANAGEMENT
Ever start cooking mom’s old chili recipe and realize you’re out of – ugh – chili powder after you’ve started? Sometimes the most important ingredients can get taken for granted, especially if someone uses something up and doesn’t replace it. Apps such as Out of Milk help shoppers avoid that pitfall, so that you can grab the chili powder when you’re already at the store.
6. SHARING AND SPLITTING SHOPPING LISTS
Shopping for a group house or a family? Splitting a list up with another person? Many grocery store apps include functions to let you spread the wealth. Try Grocery Pal, an app that allows you to automatically add shared items to a common group shopping list.
7. FIELDING LAST-MINUTE UPDATES
Ever send a household member off to the store only to realize you forgot something crucial? Apps like Grocery Gadget help users “ping” authorized members with last-minute wants.
8. KEEPING TABS ON WHAT'S IN SEASON
What’s in the produce aisle isn’t always the freshest. Apps such as Seasons can tell you which fruits and veggies are at their peaks right now and year-round.
9. USING LOYALTY CARDS
Beyond random coupons, many chain stores offer loyalty cards that allow shoppers to get deep discounts for items they regularly purchase. Apps such as Key Ring can help you keep these loyalty cards in check, but virtually.
10. USING STORE-SPECIFIC APPS
While Key Ring can help you keep your many loyalty cards in one place, grocery store-specific apps can have some added benefits. For example, they can give users a quick idea of specific store hours, product availability or price specials. Giant has an easy-to-use one.
11. MONITORING EXPIRATION DATES
Running out of cumin is one thing, but how about when you have to throw away perfectly good milk because it’s been sitting around too long? Green Egg Shopper can help you keep track of what you’ve got that’s about to go bad – before it does.
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