Coupons are useful for the starving college student who is looking to save money on groceries, but an app called Flyerbug is a new way to save money.
Raul Sukraj, the founder of Flyerbug, has worked with grocery store advertising for years. He co-founded Captive Channels, a grocery retail advertising agency using LCD screens to advertise sales.
While working with grocery stores Sukraj realized a lot of the sales information never made it outside the grocery store.
“I wanted it (Flyerbug) to be a platform for the sales that go undiscovered,” Sukraj said.
Flyerbug has both a website and an app and is aimed toward giving the consumer the best deals. Sukraj said the user enters their ZIP code into the app and it finds stores in that area. The app pulls local prices for the user’s shopping zone as well as sales that are going on at those stores. The app also allows the user to make a watch list for the items they buy on a regular basis. This will notify them of sales on those items when they happen.
Despite their attempt to make sales more well-known to drive business to those stores, the app creators have struggled to get information about baseline prices.
“They (stores) have been somewhat reluctant to share prices for everyone else,” Sukraj said. “I know this is an area where we need to appeal to the crowd source to get that information.”
The app and website allow users to enter prices for the stores in their area as well as sales. Sukraj likened the system to Gasbuddy,a company that also uses consumer input but with gas prices.
Sukraj said by comparing prices between two stores the average consumer can save 20 percent on groceries.
“All the platform is going to do is allow you to shop smarter,” Sukraj said.
While the app has the potential to help users save a lot of money, students say prices aren’t the only contributing factor in where they shop for food.
Jennie Lakenan, a senior studying psychology from Grain Valley, Mo., said transportation is a major issue when it comes to shopping. She doesn’t have a car, so she ends up going to the closest store, which for her is Smith’s. She also said the app may be useful for married couples.
“I feel like shopping got more intense once I got married, just because I’m shopping for two people and finding things that two people both like to eat, but doing it on a budget,” Lakenan said.
Karina Osgood, a senior from Petaluma, Calif., studying American studies, also said even though transportation was an issue for her, college students would appreciate the accessibility of the information Flyerbug offers.
“College students here are big on saving money, every penny counts,” Osgood said. “I think that it would be useful for them, especially since phones are such a hot item.”