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MarketMap

Grocery shopping is a part of most peoples’ daily lives, other than the fortunate souls who either order their groceries online or have someone else do it for them. For the rest of us, this chore can often be somewhat frustrating and time-consuming. If one is visiting a given supermarket for the first time or if one is purchasing products one has never purchased before, one tends to spend half their supermarket visit frustratedly going up and down every aisle, searching desperately. Sometimes the desired item is located fairly quickly, sometimes it is located only eventually, sometimes only after a friendly supermarket employee points you in its direction, sometimes it may not even be in stock.

In any case, this situation seemed to me to be, at the very least, suboptimal. Why was there no way to easily navigate a supermarket? To know exactly where an item was located and go straight there? The solution seemed almost obvious, at least conceptually. The supermarket need only map their inventory according to the floor plan of the supermarket and this map need only be accessed by an app that would point you in the direction you needed to go. The app might have an option to simply search for a product and have it be displayed on a map of the supermarket. It also might be able to plot a course through the supermarket according to a shopping list. This would prevent unnecessarily going back and forth, unaware that two items on the list were stocked right next to each other. This was where the idea for MarketMap came from. The details of each of the features I have described would need to be worked out in great detail. A great deal of research and testing would need to be undertaken as well. That being said, I have tried to illustrate what such an application may look like in the following images. I believe it has the potential to be an integral component of the grocery shopping experience.

One of the problems I came across while working through the idea conceptually was whether the map would display one’s precise location in the supermarket. That would be the most ideal solution. With current technology, however, it doesn’t seem to be possible, at least not without additional infrastructure. Perhaps a device or network of devices could be installed in a supermarket to enable the transfer of such exact location data. Until such time, simply having a floor plan of the supermarket on your phone, marked with a route and the exact locations of desired items, would offer almost the same level of convenience while greatly reducing the cost of developing as well as implementing and adopting the application. A minimalist approach, not only to the user interface of the application (as shown above), but also to its functionality might therefore be a great advantage.

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