Grocery Store Product Locator App Could Save Time

... If it worked.

Like many other large retailers, HEB - a regional grocery chain in Texas - has its own mobile app. It has the expected features including ads, coupons, and product information to provide a better customer experience. As each HEB store has its own unique layout, shopping can take much longer when visiting a different HEB.

The HEB mobile app is supposed to come to the rescue, reducing the time and effort (or cognitive load) to complete the shopping task. Unfortunately, this feature is a hit or miss in the application. The app allows the user to search for the aisle / section where a particular product is located. There have been several cases where the aisle / section were completely wrong and made me scrutinize the shelves on the target aisle several times before I gave up. When the app failed to perform, a fellow shopper noticed my frustration and helped me locate the product instead.

Application developers should consider if a feature actually adds value for the users. I certainly did not expect to have a product finder feature in this application, but I was happy to give it a try. Now that I know that this feature does not work like it should, I will not waste time with it. Users like me are skipping this half-baked feature, and it feels like a missed opportunity to me. After all, store managers could easily learn which products are in the wrong location if many customers are relying on the app to find certain items.

The only other obvious, likely more expensive, but more convenient way to solve this problem is using a grocery delivery service like Instacart.