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Coronavirus: App aims to make it easier to shop for groceries in Saskatchewan

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: New app putting stock in new way to shop for groceries' Coronavirus: New app putting stock in new way to shop for groceries
WATCH: A new app called 'What's in Stock' is providing a more productive way for people to get groceries.

Buying groceries is something every Canadian does on a frequent basis. Trying to track down a certain item or searching for the best deal can be a headache at times.

Melanie Morrison, a psychology professor at the University of Saskatchewan, says that one day while grocery shopping after becoming a mother, she bought an item and later realized she could have paid $10 less for that same item at a different store. It then made here think that there must be an easier way to do this.

The founder and CEO of BetterCart Technologies Inc., along with her team, created and launched the BetterCart app in May 2019 as a solution to the issue. The free application allows for a much easier shopping experience.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan grocery store worker navigates coronavirus pandemic while learning English

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“(I thought,) wouldn’t it be great if we had some way, some mechanism to know the pricing around us for the products we want to buy?”

The app allows people to type in their location, search for the item they want and compare prices at each nearby store, such as Walmart, Sobeys or Superstore.

Click to play video 'Canadians look at new ways to shop for groceries amid COVID-19' Canadians look at new ways to shop for groceries amid COVID-19
Canadians look at new ways to shop for groceries amid COVID-19

After getting feedback and hearing of how hard it was to find items during the coronavirus pandemic, the team felt it was essential to add the What’s in Stock feature onto BetterCart.

Roughly 4,000 people have used the new feature since it launched in early May.

“It’s designed to save people as much money as possible, really of great value, especially right now given people are experiencing a lot of economic hardships,” Morrison said.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Beef prices won’t skyrocket, food supply expert says

Elizabeth Robertson is a mom to three kids and uses the app often as it cuts down the number of times she has to go to the grocery store to once every two weeks. She says it super convenient.

“Being able to make one stop and not have to guess where I am going or where it will be cheapest, I can do it from my phone before I even leave my driveway,” Robertson said.

Stephen Parslow, the team’s chief technical officer, says a person can save up 70 per cent on any given item when using the app.

“After people shop, they can simply update it with just a couple clicks, then can update the product stock for their area and help out their community and help each other people find items they need,” he said.

The feedback from people is essential to the app for up to date information on what is sold out and what is currently on the shelf.

Morrison says the ultimate goal is to limit the number of unnecessary trips to grocery store.

“What’s happening in that regard is we might be able to shift a few of the products that are pretty much guaranteed that you can get nowadays and really focus in on the ones you can’t and nuance it a bit,” said Morrison.

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READ MORE: Grocery program bringing Saskatchewan communities together during coronavirus pandemic

She says that while the team is focusing on helping those across the province, its ultimate goal is to go coast to coast in Canada.

She says they are looking at adding a delivery aspect to the app in the future, allowing people to basically shop from their homes.

A feature on the BetterCart mobile app.
A feature on the BetterCart mobile app. Stephen Parslow/ BetterCart Technologies Inc.
A feature on the BetterCart mobile app.
A feature on the BetterCart mobile app. Stephen Parslow/ BetterCart Technologies Inc.
A feature on the BetterCart mobile app.
A feature on the BetterCart mobile app. Stephen Parslow/ BetterCart Technologies Inc.
A feature on the BetterCart mobile app.
A feature on the BetterCart mobile app. Stephen Parslow/ BetterCart Technologies Inc.