Dubai price-comparison app spots bargains
DUBAI // Shoppers in Dubai can now check and compare the prices of 270 food items at eight supermarket chains using a new smartphone app.
The Sallety app and website allows users to compare prices between all of the major supermarket chains in the emirate.
The food items are divided into 12 categories, including fish, cereals, meat and poultry, fruit, sugar, vegetables and mineral water. The eight participating stores are Lulu Hypermarkets, Carrefour, Choitrams, Spinneys, Emirates Co-op, Union Co-op, Al Maya supermarkets and HyperPanda.
The number of products will increase to 1,000 by the end of the year.
"Consumers in Dubai can shop around for the best prices at their own convenience and then make an informed decision about their purchase," said Omar Bushahab of the Department of Economic Development (Ded), which launched the app yesterday.
"We have all the big hypermarkets signed up but the app will also offer other services.
"We have inspectors checking prices of these products on a weekly basis and if there are any changes, the prices will be updated."
The app, the first of its kind in the region, is available for Android phones and is expected to be available for the iPhone by next month.
The software also allows users to see the latest special offers from shops and register complaints with the department.
The success of the system will also depend on quick information from retailers. "Once we get the papers through from the retailers about what promotions they will offer, we will add them to the app and website," said Mr Bushahab. "It means people will be able to check for all the special offers in the app."
The department hopes to add more retailers to the list and increase the types of products available for comparison.
"We hope to add things like electronics soon and, in fact, we are working with an American company to eventually add all the shops in Dubai to the list," said Mr Bushahab.
A pilot project is being run at one retail store and will be completed by the end of the year.
"We will look at how that goes and then decide," he said. "Having all the shops in Dubai under this system is a big project and the American company will send us a business plan on how they hope to do it once the pilot is complete."
The app may also be used for online shopping in the future, and a feature showing consumer rights might be added.
By the end of September the app will also provide the latest details on product recalls across the country.
The Ded in Dubai is working with the economic departments in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi to make the app available across the country in time.
Next year, the app may be useful in monitoring prices and alerting shoppers to increases during Ramadan.
"We have been doing inspections of supermarkets and we have found that some are increasing prices of food items," said Mr Bushahab.
"It isn't on the essential products, but it's still an increase and we are informing the Ministry of Economy when we have such cases."
For more details visit www.sallety.ae and click on the trolley icon.
Updated: July 17, 2013 04:00 AM