While the popular stereotype may be that all girls love shopping, this is not completely true when it comes to grocery shopping. It is the bane of our existence that takes away the opportunity of lazy Sundays. Love it or hate it, it’s a necessity for all those responsible for keeping the people in their household well-fed and sane.
It may not sound like much, but grocery shopping is stressful. Remember the time you stopped yourself from buying the Lays chips in Jusco because you recalled seeing how they were cheaper in Giant only to find out that they’re actually RM2.20 more expensive?!
Or the time you paid for an elephant-sized bag of catfood in Giant only to find out that Mydin has the exact same thing for RM10 less?
SmartShopper Malaysia may be just the website we need to take away part of the “Where should I get this” dilemma. This helpful website is able to track the price and promotion of items from more than 80% of the retailers in Malaysia to simplify your shopping trips.
The website lands you to a no-nonsense front page that lists all the items that they currently track in neat round categories. It covers a variety of items from Baby Products, Detergent, and Milk Powder, to Beer, Food, and Pet Food. Clicking on each category leads you into a page for all the items offered as well as the cheapest price found. You can look further into each item to see what other places are charging for the item.
The site hand-picks more than 500 products and is updated 3 times a week with prices verified from mailers and newspapers. It’s available on the Apple App store, BlackBerry World, Google play and Windows Store.
Their app on Google Play Store have been downloaded more than 50,000 times with a 4.0 star rating. The majority of the 1-3 Star reviews came from users unhappy with the ‘spam notification’ and Yin See, the developer of the app, have been painstakingly patient in responding to each individual complaint with a guide to disable the notification setting.
However, most of the users are more than happy with the app; One user shared that “This app has helped me and my family for months now!”, while another said, “Help me save a lot of $$$”. In addition, some users urged fellow users to contribute their price information through the app.
The Android app is available for devices 2.3 and up and was last updated in August 2014.
1 Developer + 1 Data Guy = 1 Smart Shopper
It is surprising to find that there are only two people involved in the Smart Shopper project. Yin See, the developer and Soon CK , the data guy. Yin See shared that he was a self-learning mobile app developer and wanted a project to start with while Soon had experience with data collection as well as ready data (for the project) for his company. “So we joined forces and created Smartshopper!” Yin See told Vulcan Post. “The deal is I will never have to do the data entry, and he will never have to code,” he joked. Sounds like a fair trade.
The Smart Shopper project is actually a “pet project” for both of them. During the day, Yin See runs a company making POS system (Point of Sell software system) while Soon runs a company doing survey for FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods).
They started realizing Smart Shopper in 2012 and it took three months to make the iOS version. The Android version was not released until 2013 and surprisingly, the website was only released this year. When asked if they have come into any troubles, Yin See shared that “the only problem we have is to keep up with more and more users, listen to users feedbacks and improve Smart Shopper.”
According to Yin See, they track prices and deals from newspapers and mailers, hand pick the deals and enter them into their database. Eventually, they hope to remove this tedious work by looking for merchants to contribute to the content, “which no longer requires us to manually update the database.”
They have been gaining fans through word of mouth and Facebook post-sharing as well as getting free publicity by joining app challenges and online reviews. The website and apps runs with almost zero costs but they do accept paid listing from retailers and merchants.
Yin See also shared with Vulcan Post that the majority of Smart Shopper users are people in between age 25 and 34 years old. In addition, an overwhelming 48.8% of their users are from Kuala Lumpur, with Petaling Jaya second at 7.6%, and Johor Bahru at 7.6%. Sadly, the prices on the app are not applicable to Sarawak or Sabah retailers.
Expectantly, the majority of users access the app during the weekend, with 25% and 16.4% usage on Saturday and Sunday (when they are about to do their grocery shopping).
Apart from Smart Shopper, the duo has worked together on other projects as well. For example, the Tiny Planets Photo App, ARMS F&B Restaurant POS System, as well as apps for several major Chinese Newspapers in Malaysia (China Press, Sinchew.com.my and nanyang.com).