5.9

Shopster App Review (iOS)

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Shopster App Review (iOS)

Platform: iOS
Developer: Quadion Technologies

Download the Shopster grocery list app and you’ll never forget to stop for milk again-or at least that’s the hope.

The primary function of this geolocation app is the way it “learns” your shopping habits by location. Shopster accomplishes this by reminding you to stop and pick up grocery items based on where you have previously bought items on your shopping list. There are a lot of apps out there that are glorified shopping lists-Shopster moves beyond that by focusing on its location-based features and providing an interesting twist on the concept.

It’s simple: Before you head off for the grocery store, create a list of items and the quantity you need to purchase them in. After purchasing the items, check them off as “bought” before leaving the store. Next time you are in need of the item, add it to your list and Shopster will send you an alert reminding you to stop and grab the items on your list as you approach the known store. Whenever you have items on your list, Shopster alerts you when you are within the perimeter of the store where you previously picked up the item.

In addition the app will locate on a map stores that you frequently travel past. For example, if you have peanut butter on your list, the app will record every place you’ve traveled that has the product available for purchase. So when you are getting ready to head home from work and need to stop and get peanut butter somewhere, you can quickly tap on the map and see where stores are located based on previous travel paths.

While this is a seemingly cool feature, it doesn’t always turn out to be quite as helpful as you’d think. Is a reminder for location really what a shopping app should be doing? After all, it seems like most people get their shopping done at only a couple of stores – most of which they know the location of. I can really only see this feature as being helpful if you are new to a city or are looking for a specialty item that you can’t find at your everyday grocery store. Unfortunately, the whole app banks on its users needing this geolocation service and them being attentive to the alerts on their phone—when in reality, that just doesn’t seem to be how people go shopping on a regular basis.

The secondary issue with Shopster is that while it pretends to make your life easier by automating things, the app still requires you to constantly remember to add items to your list. And even though they’ve made adding an item to the list fairly painless, it still requires the user to remember to open up the app and type in what they need. I realize that an app like Shopster will never be able to just know when you’ve finished your jar of peanut butter, but if it had some way of setting a periodicity or timer, that would make these features feel a little more helpful.

Aside from questions on how effective the app really is for productivity, the app works really smoothly and is fairly user-friendly. Swiping around the app is quick and snappy and the GPS tracking is really accurate. After walking nearly two miles with the app, it had recorded every single store I had traveled near, properly alerting me to stores I had previously visited and listing the items I had bought there.

In terms of sheer productivity, Shopster can’t convince me that this information is really worth pulling out my phone for on a regular basis. As a standard grocery list, Shopster works and the added benefit of knowing where specific items can be found is a nice touch. But ultimately, the geolocation feature just isn’t as helpful as it wants to be. Depend too much on Shopster and you might even find yourself at home without the milk more times than not.

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