MySupermarket closed its doors after 14 years at the start of March. Given the massive outcry from regular users it looked like a mistake to shut down at first glance.

SmartList wants to help people save time, money and help reduce food wastage through better planning. It has a big overlap with MySupermarket with the ambition to save everyone money. However, making the app simple and fast to use is just as much a priority as saving money.

If we look at the reviews of MySupermarket’s website and app over the last few years they have been pretty dire.

Looking through the “most relevant” comments, the main issues seem to be:

  1. Slow search due to poor type ahead
  2. Crashing or never working
  3. Unable to login, especially using Google
  4. Pricing data and offers not up to date
  5. Lists disappearing for no reason
  6. Poor support
  7. Annoying ads
  8. Lots of bugs specific to newer phones, which indicates a lack of testing

However, there were a lot of people who loved the app and website and were very willing to put up with the issues listed above. It seems strange to stop trading when you have a core following who have such enormous loyalty.

A problem which is not mentioned by most on the forums is the complexity of the service. In their knowledgebase they had 146 articles on using the service. This seems like a throwback to 10 years ago when people actually read manuals. Now, most people will try an app and give up if they don’t understand it in a few minutes. They certainly won’t spend hours reading manuals! http://help.mysupermarket.co.uk/index.php/knowledgebase/

We have looked at the MySupermarket accounts at Company’s House, but they do not tell a bad story as profit increased steadily from 2014 to 2018 for MySupermarket Ltd. They did set up another company called MySupermarket Services Ltd that never traded and may have had others we cannot find as they have not used the MySupermarket name. However, the main company made a profit every your for at least the last 5 years, so we cannot conclude this is the problem.

MySupermarket were not getting the same publicity as they used to, but there are still hundreds of links on MoneySaving Expert and papers like The Sun regularly used their data to include in articles. If they had wanted to increase publicity they could have as I’m sure they had lots of PR contacts made over the last 14 years.

Finally, we looked at MySupermarket’s business services offering – http://solutions.mysupermarket.co.uk/

As we could not register or login we were only able to look at the blog and articles. These seemed to dry up about 6 months ago, so there must have been something wrong for a while.

So, what can we conclude from all of this?

  • Although they were making a profit it looks like MySupermarket lost their way a while ago. They had obviously not been testing as much and their customer service had dropped off.
  • About 3 years ago the majority of online complaints were about obtrusive ads. Maybe they killed the golden goose by only caring about making a profit in the short term?
  • Maybe after 14 years they just got bored or something less obvious happened. In their letter explaining their service had stopped they said they were going to “shift our activity toward other business areas”

There is no one clear answer as far as we can see, but it would be really interesting to hear your views! If you have used the service or even worked for mySupermarket it would be great to hear your thoughts.