Start Up Blog

New on line supermarket

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 1, 2010

I’m developing a new website which is an on-line supermarket. Here’s some of the features I’ll be building into it in terms of usability.

If you want to place an order for milk, you must first look at all the items you don’t want to buy. They will pop up on the screen one by one. You’ll have to click past all of them. Then the milk will pop up after you’ve seen every other product for sale to click on. But after this, you then must click past all of the goods for sale again. The same ones we already showed you. When you want to proceed to the checkout, we’ll make you wait for maybe 5 or more minutes and show you many of the items you already saw on screen, again, just in case you changed your mind. If you decide to shop late at night at our on line supermarket, only one person can buy at a time, because we will restrict our ‘server’ so that all of our customers cannot buy their supermarket items simultaneously. This is because we will be trying to save a few dollars on serving people. A few people might leave and go somewhere else, but it will be a great expense saving idea.

Sounds pretty ridiculous right? Well, this is defined as ‘retail strategy’ in the physical supermarket world. Maybe it’s time they re-thought how they do some things. Right now there is tremendous opportunity for smart startups in the retail space employ on-line usability best practice to show some dinosaurs how it’s done.

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3 Responses

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  1. Brett Duncan said, on August 2, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Great analogy.

    Brett. (@bdunc1 via twitter)

  2. Andre Sammartino said, on August 3, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Good luck to any such start-up. I hope they work out how to get my milk below $2.50 for 2 litres and can also stock sufficient product ranges to mean I’m not shopping in 9 different stores whenever I need the ingredients for meals… and be in 500 locations nationally so as to achieve low enough cost levels.

    Your retail utopia does sound truly wonderful… but it has to make financial sense. Supermarkets can treat us like crap because they have ludicrously high economies of scale (as can banks, telecoms and airlines to name a few). The power of incumbency is a very strong barrier to entry.

    I look forward to a similar expose on the inefficiencies and manipulation perpetrated by big nasty advertising agencies very soon Steve :)

    • Steve Sammartino said, on August 3, 2010 at 8:52 pm

      Clearly it is about generating ideas, even incremental ones for a little cross fertilization of best practice.

      I totally agree with your points about the incumbents in the industries you pose. But challenging current strategies is the ‘juice’ startups need…. and that’s who I’m writing this puppy for.

      Giddy up,
      Stevie.


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