/ Technology

Want a ‘sat nav’ app to get round Tesco? Um, no thanks

Supermarket aisle blurred

I can’t quite work out whether the news that Tesco’s trialling a ‘sat nav’ app is a good or bad thing. For me, it’s just another bit of tech I can safely relegate to the ‘completely ignore’ space of my mind. But for others…

…well, let’s explain how the thing works first. Once you’ve downloaded Tesco’s app to your Android smartphone, you’ll be able to enter your shopping list which the app will use to create a map of where the products are in the store. Then, it will work out the shortest possible route between you and those products.

Tesco said in its blog post that it won’t roll this out to stores up and down the country until it has had a clear indication that it’s something customers want. Well, take it from me, men will love it.

Blokes and supermarkets

Now, I know this might be a massive generalisation and maybe I need to get out more, but I’ve yet to meet a man who doesn’t think grocery shopping is a torture that has to be endured. For them, successful shopping means getting in and out as quickly as possible.

Never mind that they’ve forgotten half the items on the list – the fact that they step inside a supermarket and came back with something at all is testament their hunter gatherer traits.

Whether Tesco knows it or not – and I suspect they do – this sat nav gizmo will be manna from heaven for most men.

Supermarket shopping nightmare

If this sat nav app does eventually get rolled out to Tesco’s up and down the country, expect two things. Firstly, other supermarkets will soon follow. And secondly, supermarkets will no longer be a safe place to shop.

Just imagine the scenario a year down the line – all the men you know sneakily meeting up with their mates and seeing who can get their weekly shop done in the fastest possible time using this new toy. It’s going to be an absolute nightmare.

Once this thing takes off, I’m going to do all my shopping online. That way, at least I’ll be safe from speeding shopping trolleys, steered by men (and children) who’ve forgotten they’re in a supermarket, not a racetrack.


Another tool for the supermarket’s to use to monitor what we buy and when, giving them information about our shopping habits so they can collate the info and put up prices to take money from our pockets.

knowledge is power – for the supermarket this is especially so.
The less they know about us the better, always shop local, if you really must use a supermarket, then always pay in cash.

juwlz says:
27 May 2011

Electronic shopping lists are nothing new. I’ve been using them in one form or another, manually sorted (by me) into aisle order for a particular store, ever since I had a Psion 5 running RMRShop (http://www.rmrsoft.com/epoc/shop.htm) 11 or 12 years ago. As an Android Geek and regular Tesco shopper, currently using OurGroceries (http://www.ourgroceries.com/overview), I’ll be the first to try it as soon as I can, especially if it supports shared shopping lists. In fact, I’m just surprised that nobody else has through of it until now. Shame I don’t live near ***** :-(.

Build in proper scan-as-you-go (Waitrose style) instead of the stupid long-winded self-service checkouts that Tesco have plumped for, add NFC for payment, and I’ll be a very happy girl.

SatNav is a bit of a misnomer though. As far as I know, there are no Satellites involved ;-).


Satellites are on aisle 13. 2 for the price of 3.

Bix says:
27 May 2011

It’s hardly a new idea, and it obviously didn’t catch on the first time around. I encountered shopping trolleys that guided you to what you wanted to buy and told you about the special offers you passed on the way in Atlanta, Georgia, more than 20 years ago. It was rather useful for strangers in a large supermarket, though there were some language difficulties (asking for biscuits led us to some scone-like patties intended to be eaten with gravy for breakfast). It’s hard to imagine that people would use it regularly in their usual supermarket – unless of course they do their grocery shopping at Marks & Spencer, in which case it’s a must. In fact I think I’ll write and ask them to introduce it immediately so that I can stop spending half my mornings looking for something they’ve moved AGAIN.


I can’t see that this is in the interest of supermarkets. If people know where to go they will probably buy exactly what they want, pay and leave. However, if they have to wander around looking for what they want they are likely see other products of interest and buy these as well, especially products on offer.

James Harrison says:
31 May 2011

Yes, we know why the supermarkets move their stock around, but we all detest it thoroughly. We get used to the layouts and can indeed do a record-breaking short sharp shop, but they move it around, depending upon which supplier they have nailed to the floor on price and which products they must supply and tuck away. I’m surprised that chocolate isn’t next to tampons and toilet roll next to the bargain meal section. We don’t like it….it’s not clever Mr/Mrs. middle-management…We don’t care whether you get a certificate in constructive shelf-stacking and a badge to sew onto your support workers speedo’s….stop it! We don’t need maps and apps, just common sense and real value for money.


This could be useful for someone with arthritis who needs to avoid walking more than necessary.

I could be interested because my local Tesco sometimes puts things in strange places, For example dishcloths in the aisle labelled dog food and pet care, and salt in the aisle labelled fresh lamb and pork. I don’t have a smartphone so I will continue to ask staff for the time being.


Marks and Spencer in Broad Street Reading are forever re-arranging the layout of the food.
They lost my custom for that reason a loooooong time ago.


Alistair – exactly. There is no need for anything other than a trolley, good sign-age and a bit of time. Once you’ve learned the supermarket layout that should be all you need. But then you know the bits you can ignore and that doesn’t do. The manager wants you to be forced to find stuff that you neither need nor want, so they change it all round once every three or four weeks. Silly billies!