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Feedback for supermarket food products

Image credit: https://anyline.com/news/retail-price-verification-with-scanning-equipped-mobile-apps

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Povilas S
Povilas S Nov 24, 2021
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The idea is for the customers to be able to comment on the quality of supermarket food products via a dedicated app by scanning a product's bar code and typing in some remarks or/and voting on the general quality level.
Why?
The cases when you buy a certain food product at the supermarket and there's something wrong with it are not rare in my experience. You can't always evaluate the quality before buying and just leave it lying there if there's something wrong. In any case, such products shouldn't be there in the first place.
Examples: the product has gone bad from the taste even though the expiry date is still valid; the dough of a pastry product is raw, not baked well; in a prepacked bag containing many fruits/vegetables some began to rot, etc.
There's not much you can do in those cases, except from complaining to the staff at the store, which people rarely do, cause they either leave the product at the store if noticed on time or if noticed only at home, they usually don't bother to come back and complain about it unless they get a serious food poisoning.
If nobody complains about the flaws of a certain product, the store might not even notice that there is a problem with a certain item and keep the situation as it is. So having such a review system would be beneficial for both the customers and the shops to increase the quality of their products.
How would it work:
You'd open a dedicated app and scan the barcode of a product with your smartphone, then a window would open for you to rate/type a review of that specific product. You could also upload pictures. You could do this both while still being at the store and after you've already bought the product.
If you already bought something and are dissatisfied with the quality, you could scan the receipt of the total shopping and the app would show you the list of products that are in the receipt for you to choose the one (or a few) you want to review. Scanning a receipt would also let the system register the precise buying time which is indicated in it. Otherwise, the users could indicate the approximate time of buying themselves.
The system could be used to review any product present in the supermarket, not only the food products, but it's less likely that there will be problems with non-food products, therefore food products should be the main focus of such a review system.
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Creative contributions

Integrated app that sends you a digital receipt and allows you to see what you bought and give feedback.

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Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia Nov 25, 2021
Hi Povilas, I like the idea and I think it could be integrated with the technology that some businesses like "Ametller Origen" in Spain are using, in which you can receive your shopping receipt virtually. The supermarket could have an app in which you receive your receipts, but it could go a step further by allowing you to click into the different products, so you can view them, rate them and give reviews. Additionally, it would be cool if the app would show you all the other products that are similar or comparable to that one, with the differences in prices and ratings, so you can make an informed choice whether to replace it. Additionally, the app could also inform you of discounts or offers with the products you normally buy, or their alternatives. What do you think?
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Povilas S
Povilas S13 days ago
Yes, that's a good idea!:) It's also ecological because it saves the paper for printing the receipts. The only useful addition to that would be to allow customers to review the products before buying - you can notice a flaw of the product while still picking at the supermarket, before buying the product.
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Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia13 days ago
Povilas S Yes, the paper saving is the main reason a lot of supermarkets are starting to do this kind of thing. While I agree that you can notice flaws before buying the product, I would rather trust the opinion of someone who has actually consumed the product, wouldn't you? What could be done is using the same app to signal the supermarket that there is something wrong with the available product (for example it's expired, broken or such), although I rather prefer telling the supermarket personnel directly. I wanted to add to my idea that it could also include a service in which the supermarket could tell you which products they have that are close to expiring and thus are sold at a significantly reduced price.
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Povilas S
Povilas S13 days ago
Manel Lladó Santaeularia Yes, but after you've consumed the product the damage has already been done:) That's why it's important to be able to announce it before buying so that the staff could take care of it.
It's not always easy to find the staff around at the store, they're usually busy with other things and you'd have to go around looking for them. It's also a good chance that they just won't care about it, or they'll pretend to care but won't do anything about it, quality control might not be a direct part of their responsibility. That's why having a dedicated system for this which is user-friendly is important.
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General comments

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic13 days ago
How would you prevent "black hat" sabotage campaigns from competitors? Some could try to destroy a competitor's reviews
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Povilas S
Povilas S9 days ago
Darko Savic I'd like to believe that the owners of other supermarkets wouldn't go to such lengths to compete amongst each other. "Black hat" phenomenon is mostly present in the setting of online shopping.
Another thing is that If there was only one supermarket implementing such system, then maybe the risk is higher, but if many would do that then if you hired people to sabotage the competitor you'd be risking to get struck back by the same means. When you're in the business you can suspect who'd dare to do that or try to find out by using online tracking.
Finally, identity confirmation could be required to leave the review in the system. This would let the owners track the "back hatters" easier. Reviewers could have an impact level depending on how often they shop in the store (having that supermarket's discount card would add you some points, for example). Reviews from people who rarely shop there would have a lower trustworthiness level than from those who are frequent shoppers.
Also, the more people would leave a similar review about the same product the more chances are that what they say is true. So the competitors would have to hire a substantial amount of people to write about a single product just to reduce its demand for true shoppers.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic8 days ago
Competitors go to great lengths to outdo each other. A recent example that comes to mind:
My 2-year-old Huawei phone was far better than my latest Samsung. Apple didn't even stand a chance in this category. Guess which brand is banned from the US market and prevented from using Google services. Huawei was so much better than I'm going to try and get used to life without google services as soon as I get my hands on the model I want.
One thing we can count on is that people who have something to gain will find ways of manipulating the odds in their favor.
Maybe the reviewers could be connected to networks of friends. Then everyone sees what their friends think about the supermarket products. An average group of friends would have no incentive to game the feedback.
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Povilas S
Povilas S8 days ago
Darko Savic That's an interesting thing about Huawei vs US market, I didn't know this. I initially thought that Huawei was "invented" as a brand to offer cheaper alternatives to Apple products with a similar user interface. Is that true? If yes, then this is also a not-so-nice part of a competition game.
The problem with connecting this review system with social media is that not everyone would want that. I wouldn't, for example. Product reviews and the information about what and where you shop is not something interesting you'd want people on social media to see, especially when it comes to supermarket products. Well, it depends on a person, I guess. Maybe a separate social media adjacent to that review platform could be created. Similarly as Instagram is sometimes known for people sharing their food pics there, this could work for those who'd like to share and comment on what they and others buy in supermarkets.
Identity confirmation could have a similar effect. If needed, it would be easier for the owners to check the reviewer's social media and see if they raise any suspicion.
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