MyGrocer: An App to Cut The Cost of Grocery Shopping

Social Justice Topic:

For my social justice project, I’m planning to address the soaring food prices by creating a better financially economic way for individuals to grocery shop. According to USDA economist Mark Lino, the cost of food went up 32% between 2003 and 2013 and a moderate-cost healthy plan went up by 38% during that same time span (Hellmisch, 2013).  With the price of grocery shopping for a family shooting up and the economy still toiling it is important to look at cost effective strategies to budget spending habits for families and those on a tight budget, such as college students.  The neighborhood that I surveyed for my field research project has over 5 large-scale grocery stores in a 10-mile radius, so an app that can compare prices between each store can be helpful, but what about more urban areas that lack this type of access. In the past 10 years there has been an 84% increase in farmers markets, which has helped combat the “food desert” problem for urban areas (Jilcott, 2011). For inner city citizens who may not be able to afford higher prices this app would be very handy. In 2013, smartphone sales doubled the industry rate for those making less than $30,000 and held the largest share of smartphone sales among all income demographics (NPD, 2014). With the upward movement of low-income individuals buying smartphones we are also seeing wireless Internet use growing amongst the same demographic. The Pew Research Center found that 46% of households earning less than $30,000 are wireless internet users making them the fastest growing income demographic (Zickuhr & Smith, 2012). Since lower-income families and individuals having more access to the Internet through mobile phones and farmer’s markets popularity urban areas, this gives my app an added demographic of users.

Idea for an App design:

My app gives customers the ability to cut down on food prices by giving them a complete inventory view of local and distant grocery stores and all the prices associated with those items. With my app you can search individual items and it will pull the prices of every grocery store, convenience store, and farmers market around the zip code you punched in. For those doing bigger shopping orders, you can make a list of items you want and the app will aggregate that information and give you the total of the cost at each store in the supplied area. For most purposes this app is used pre-shopping for those who make up lists of what they need before they head out of the house, but this app also works during the shopping experience as a paperless alternative to carrying around shopping ads. This app would also work great for individuals who are looking for stores who carry specific items or those who suffer from food allergens. With this app you can search for gluten-free pasta and it will show you who carries it and for the best price. As mentioned earlier, those in urban areas that live in food deserts can now compare prices amongst local farmer’s markets while also seeing what they sell ahead of time. Also, during my field research I noticed that employees were the heaviest users of mobile phones. I believe having a complete list of a stores inventory would be great for employees to give better directions to costumers who may ask for specific items instead of being pointed towards customer service. All the data for this app to work is supplied from crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is obtaining contributions from a large group of people, in this case grocery store customers, and allows the crowd to become the content. My app is designed to work like Wikipedia or gas buddy, in that it will be the costumers who supply the prices for each other. One of the differences between this an Gas buddy is that you won’t need to sign in or enter any information about yourself outside of your zip code and it will allow you to save the zip codes that you want. Using the crowdsourcing model makes a project of this scope more realistic since the alternative would be very costly.

How app design connects to field research:

My research project was done at the grocery store I work at, so I got to see the different ways people use cell phones while they shop or work. I found long wait departments like the deli and check-out were where the heaviest use of mobile phones took place. I also found that employees were the biggest users of mobile technology. I know from employees that some customers go to specific stores to grab items and then head to other stores for the lower prices. My store specifically is family run and carries a lot of unique items, so customers will drive further to support local business or pick up a particular item.

Peer-reviewed scholarly articles I am using:

Jilcott S. B., Keyserling T., Crawford T., McGuirt J. T., Ammerman A. S. (2011).Examining associations among obesity and per capita farmers’ markets, grocery stores/supermarkets, and supercenters in US counties. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 111, 567-572

Zickuhr, K. (2012, April 13). Digital Differences. Pew Institute. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from http://www.pewinternet.org/files/old-media/Files/Reports/2012/PIP_Digital_differences_041312.pdf

Alviola, P. A., Nayga, R. M., & Thomsen, M. (2013). Food Deserts and Childhood Obesity. Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, 35(1), 106-124.

Memery, J., Megicks, P., Angell, R., & Williams, J. (2012). Understanding ethical grocery shoppers. Journal of Business Research65(9), 1283-1289. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from the Science Direct database.

Ideas for visual design project:

For the visual part of my project I plan to make some photoshop/Illustrator images that I can put on a power point of how this app should look and how it should function. I have a logo in mind already, which shouldn’t take long to put together.

My backup plan would be to make posters containing the same information.

Concrete timeline for project:

I’ve already researched a good amount on this topic and have a good deal of sources that I haven’t supplied so getting more in-depth is my next step. I picked out a time-slot with Kristina DeVoe some time ago, so I hope I can get some more good links to bring this project together. I already asked someone if they could help me put my visual design together and we’ve got some ideas to run with. I plan to get on this project very soon since the back end of this class is very busy for my group.

Sources:

Apple Leads US Consumer Smartphone Sales with 45 Percent Share in 2013, According to NPD. (2014, February 20).Apple Leads US Consumer Smartphone Sales with 45 Percent Share in 2013, According to NPD. Retrieved March 22, 2014, from https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/apple-leads-us-consumer-smartphone-sales-with-45-percent-share-in-2013-according-to-npd/

Hellmich, N. (2013, May 1). Cost of feeding a family of four: $146 to $289 a week. USA Today. Retrieved March 22, 2014, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/01/grocery-costs-for-family/2104165/

 

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One thought on “MyGrocer: An App to Cut The Cost of Grocery Shopping”

  1. This research is coming along nicely and the app idea is very detailed at this early stage (and I know we’ve already discussed it a lot so I don’t have many new suggestions to add). Both visual design ideas sound good. The plan for completion sounds feasible, particularly as it is clear you already have a good amount of work done.

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