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Following a minor glitch in its store locator function that caused it to be rejected by Apple, the Tesco Finder iPhone app this month became available at the Apple Store, and was downloaded by more than 4,000 users just days after it appeared, according to Tesco’s head of research and development (R&D) Nick Lansley, who also noted on his blog (http://techfortesco.blogspot.com) that the Tesco API is servicing anonymous product search requests at the rate of one every 20 seconds during the day and evening.
The application is the first project completed by Tesco.com’s IT Innovation Club, a group run by the retailer’s R&D group, which aims to create innovative customer-facing solutions outside of the firm’s standard production work schedule.
As well as the store location capability, the Tesco Finder app also allows users to find grocery products in the store by describing the aisle and shelf, though the functionality is not available for nonfood items and works for U.K. stores only.
One of Tesco Finder’s hidden talents, says Lansley, is that users can search on a 13-digit bar code by typing it in. If it’s stocked at your selected store, it’s displayed on the screen.
Critics of the application have said that it should show product prices or real-time stock levels — it currently does not — and that it does not work in some stores where the mobile signal is too weak. Some have also criticized the appearance of its interface.
But Lansley explained in his blog that Tesco is working on improving the appearance of the app, and that while the service does not have access to real-time prices yet, that functionality will be added soon.