On a wet day in September, I sat down with Unata’s Founder and CEO, Chris Bryson, to talk apps. What was initially supposed to be a short interview about an upcoming app turned into a 90-minute conversation about human nature, app design and rewards programs. From the outset, I knew there was something exciting about the ventures this young man was undertaking.
One of those ventures just went live in the form of Longos’ Grocery Gateway app for iOS, and a new web app for Android and other HTML5-enabled devices. Plucked from oblivion (and bankruptcy) by the up-and-coming grocery chain in 2004, Grocery Gateway has re-emerged as the preeminent Canadian grocery delivery service. Longos decided to partner with Toront0-based Unata to create its first mobile app, and it’s beautiful.
Unata calls itself a Digital Shopper Marketing company. It aims to enhance shoppers’ retail experiences both online and in-store, and has built an extensive platform on which to build the per-brand model. What this means is that Unata works with a store, in this case Longo’s, to take data from its customers’ purchase history and deliver an accurate, enjoyable and personalized shopping experience. By integrating Longos’ rewards points with Unata’s “Shopper Marketing Platform,” product suggestions are far more likely to be accurate, but could also be catered to a user based on how long ago he or she previously purchased it. For example, if the app notices you haven’t purchased eggs in two weeks, it might be more likely to show you a special on fresh, organic eggs.
The app itself cannot be overlooked. It is striking in its simple and beautiful minimalistic design, and speaks to the true potential of the shopping app. Users will be greeted with the same experience if they head to GroceryGateway.com on Android or any other HTML5-enabled device. In fact, the web app is one of the smoothest, native-feeling experiences I’ve had in a browser. It puts Facebook to shame. Adding to the cart is easy and intuitive, and there are even some nice animations created using CSS that add to the experience.