back to article Start-up offers frozen-pea-finding app

Aisle 411 plans to take mobile navigation down to the floor plan level, guiding shoppers around American supermarkets even if the supermarket doesn’t want to play. The application should be in the iTunes store today, Apple’s approval process permitting, and will respond to a spoken search with a map of the store in which one …


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  1. Ian 62
    Thumb Up


    These guys will get my money if they can do it for the UK.

    Its positivily INSANE that there 'appears' to be no way of knowing or finding out if a supermarket has an item instock, never mind where it might be.

    Dont try tell me that the millions they spend on inventory control cant tell me if theres a packet of jaffa cakes in the store.

    I know they want me to wander like a drone through the aisles buying random things I didnt want... But these days if i cant find something I need I hand back the basket of what I've got, explain they dont have what I need, and walk out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      you've not seen the Tesco app then? You can create shopping lists and it'll guide you through the store to each item. You can also just search for an item and it tells you where on the shelf it is. It doesn't yet have a map and it's not voice activated but it's been available for ages.

      It's also worth mentioning that mobile phones (ok I have an iPhone so maybe not all) have terrible reception in stores due to the construciton so all this info needs to be cached before you get there and I suspect the realtime voice stuff will fail in real life.

      1. Grease Monkey Silver badge


        It's essentially the app that the pickers for online shopping use. I'm not sure about the consumer app, but on the pickers app there is a "not on shelf" button which then lists alternatives. That's really useful when it doesn't list a strawberry trifle as an alternative to a roast chicken.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Singles night

          But how will this application affect Tesco singles dating night?

  2. TeeCee Gold badge

    Voice activated?

    Just how does it handle: "Ok, where the f*** have these f***ing bastards put the f***ing flour this f***ing week then?"

    Most parsing algorithms presented with that would tell you where to go for a fuck which, while possibly of interest, isn't of any help in my quest to make shortcrust pastry.

    1. Maty

      there you go ...

  3. Grease Monkey Silver badge


    So they can navigate you around a supermarket where the supermarket owners won't play ball can they? And how well will their database keep up with the fact that a lot of the less obvious items move week on week then?

    Major items like frozen peas or bottles of coke will stay pretty much in the same place week on week. Less popular items get moved about to cope with the dominance of bigger items. New line of baked beans meaning more shelf space needed? OK lets move the refried beans to that space on aisle 12, which will displace the condensed milk to aisle 9. And so on.

    It's not the popular items that shoppers find hard to locate. Firstly because it's generally bloody obvious where they are and secondly because they buy them most weeks. It's the items like condensed milk that take the time, because it's not obvious what they will be near and because the shopper might only buy them once a year. An app that knows where the frozen peas are would be worthless. An app that knows where to find some of the weird shit my wife asks me to pick up? Priceless.

  4. MrCheese

    It's going to be tricky

    I'd like to see how this develops, if you'd ever worked in any retail environment you'd know that the supermarkets very deliberately make it impossible to find anything, it keeps you looking at more shelves for longer, for instance in an unnamed orange branded supermarket all brand name products are at the centre of the aisles meaning you have to pass the maximum number of alternative products to get to what you want.

    Supermarkets even charge suppliers for preferential placement of their products in "high-traffic" parts of the store and I can't see this tidy little system being undermined with a mobile app; I think we'll see many retailers choosing not to share their data.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      MrCheese I think you are very paranoid. as mentioned above, Tesco provide an app to help you find things. I'm also certain that my local supermarkets don't place things in the middle of rows, for instance heinz beans are at the row end, as is coca cola, proper ketchup and PG tips tea. With one pound in every seven spent in the UK going to Tesco, they have no need to add small profits that way!

  5. gaz 7
    Thumb Up

    sounds like a great idea.

    i've been saying (moaning) to mhy family about this sort of thing everytime i go bloody shopping.

    it always gets worse whenever the wife gets more food porn! (all she ever really does is look at the pretty pictures, never ends up making anything....)

    cannot see asda or tesco being keen on this as they seem to have a perverse pleasure in hiding stuff. do people really impulse buy crisps cos the bog rolls have been moved next to them? moving them next to the bleach and bog cleaner would make more sense to me, but then i'm not paid mega bucks to sit on my arse and how best to piss shoppers off this week.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "cannot see asda or tesco being keen on this"

      But Tesco already have an app to do this.

  6. AdamWill

    Nitpick time!

    "rather than interact with the surly youth stacking shelves."

    in my experience the yoof in American supermarkets skip up to you with a gigantic smile and declare their willingness to help you in any way at all, quite possibly up to and including taking a bullet for you. I assume they're like this on pain of losing their jobs (and hence all medical benefits for poor little Britney).

    "ask for nine-inch nails and the result of your search will depend on the kind of shop you're in - though initially it will be the hammered-in variety as supermarkets and hardware stores are the focus for the company."

    again, zero points for Americana savvy: supermarkets are the leading retailers of physical music media in the States these days. So you're just as likely to be buying nine inch nails of the (semi) melodic variety.

    1. Darryl


      What if, instead of Frozen Peas, you want Black Eyed Peas?

  7. mccp

    Title not needed

    I think that the Tesco app is great. I probably use it every week, but then I'm one of those odd people who think that it would be logical for Bovril and Marmite to be on the same shelf, not at opposite ends of the store.

    Having said that, data accuracy is everything and even the Tesco app sometimes can't keep up with the incessant, apparently random, movement of products.

  8. Aaron Em

    Supermarket shenanigans EXPOSED

    IT'S ALL TRUE! I once worked in a supermarket stocking shelves, and sometimes they'd have us spend an entire night shift, especially on the weekend, moving items from shelf to shelf, just to make it harder for people to find what they'd come in to the place to buy. Seriously, there's nothing more entertaining than watching a frustrated mother of four completely lose her rag in the middle of the paper-goods aisle and throw a frothing wobbler -- dropping bricks off a freeway bridge just doesn't begin to compare!

    Oh, wait, no, actually, we didn't do anything like that at all, because that would be fucking stupid. Instead we took the boring, predictable option and put things right by other things just like them, in the aisles where the signs said they should be -- you know, like how you always seem to find the butter in the dairy case with the other butter, not halfway across the store in the butcher-shop cold cases because we thought it'd offer better cross-selling opportunities with the meat.

    (Though admittedly, if you've never taken an extra-rare steak, salted it, and seared it in butter until the outside turned crispy, you're missing out on a culinary experience fit for a god. Top with melted bleu cheese, bacon, and mushrooms sauteed in the bacon fat for something that'll get gods to convert to *you* -- and so what if it clogs up your pipes? Everybody dies of something or other, so why not enjoy yourself on the way?)

    Honestly, has it ever occurred to some of you that you might have an easier time of it in the grocery store if you spent less effort on concocting elaborate conspiracy theories to explain why you always need a half hour to find your favorite brand of shrimp-and-mango-chutney crisps, and a little more on paying attention to where things are so that you don't have to figure it out entirely from scratch the next time you take it into your tiny little heads to wander in the front door? Or would that cut into your all-important Foursquare time?

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