When I’m in a hurry I sometimes miss the cheapest option, or forget to use voucher or comparison sites. That’s why I’m a fan of techy things like browser plug-ins that do the remembering or the price searching for you automatically. Provided they are user-friendly and efficient, it’s a no-brainer: they can save you a fair bit of time and often quite a considerable amount of money.
I’ve been given the opportunity to try the latest ‘companion app’ from mySupermarket, and I thought you might like to know how it worked out. It’s probably most correct to describe it as a browser plug-in – if you’re unfamiliar with these, they’re a small piece of software that you download from a trusted site and install on your computer, which then adds itself to your chosen browser to give you extra functionality. The browser I tried it with was Google Chrome.
First things first, I downloaded the companion app from their site and was pleased that this downloaded very quickly. Then I clicked the ‘install’ button to activate the app and close the browser. Once reopened, the plug-in was ready to use straight away. It’s a very easy, simple process. As it’s clearly labelled ‘mySupermarket’, the file is also easy to find if you need to uninstall it at a later date.
I then tried to visit various supermarket shopping sites to do trial shops – the app currently works at Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and Ocado.. When I started with Sainsbury’s the site experienced several glitches, such as problems with the frames on its interface, and offers and bargains not showing up in the trolley. After switching to a couple of other supermarkets I was satisfied that the problem lay with the original supermarket rather than the app since there were no further problems during visits to all other retailers.
Whenever you put anything into your online shopping trolley, the app has the potential to pop up a small panel at the bottom left of your computer screen. This happens if there’s a better offer on the same product in a different supermarket, or a better offer on a similar product in the same supermarket (also known as the ‘swap and save’ feature).
Once you’ve finished your shopping, the app then lets you go to the mySupermarket website and gives you these options:
- switching your shopping to the supermarket where the basket of goods is the cheapest
- changing items at the same supermarket to get a lower price (or a better overall deal in some cases)
There’s also an option on the mySupermarket website where you can split your shopping basket between two or more online retailers to get the best deal, and displays of various special offers. Once you’ve made your decisions, you are then taken back to the original supermarket or the new cheaper one to complete your transaction.
The app can also automatically show you cashback offers at specific supermarkets (money that is paid back to you approx 1 month later via your PayPal account) while you’re shopping.
To sum up, I found the app easy to install and use. The small panel that pops up is unmissable yet still fairly discreet, and it’s easy to minimise it if it’s getting in the way. It didn’t feel like I was being nagged, and it picked up a couple of excellent value offers that my usually bargain-honed eyes had missed. These offers were multibuys where smaller packs of branded goods were very heavily discounted compared with larger packs – there’s a tendency for most people to subconsciously assume that the larger packs always offer better value, so this is a handy way of getting around that common mistake!
For example, my shop at Ocado included own-brand goods, branded groceries, a bottle of premium spirits, and other items on special offer to be given away as Christmas gifts. Combining the store’s promotions and the mySupermarket app’s savings, the basket price came to £55.60 and the savings totalled £30.92. The app found me £4.90-worth of savings that I’d completely missed too, which I found very impressive.
If you’d like to use this saving method yourself, you first need to be signed up with mySupermarket (which is free to join and use) and then download their price checker app.