Eggs, Milk, Bread - the World's First Grocery API

TescoThe third largest retailer in the world, Tesco, a grocery-and-more chain largely in the UK, will soon unveil a REST API for its online store (Tesco API profile). Developers will be able to search products, as well as get nutritional information, such as how many calories are in a serving of crisps or biscuits.

The most innovative part of the upcoming API is its authentication of customers, providing developer access to a virtual shopping cart. Included are the customer's favorites, which could be used for recommendations, or a quick ordering interface.

For the last six months Tesco has been beta testing a limited API with about 150 developers. Last week, Tesco's Nick Lansley announced changes based on feedback. The results are just about everything one would want in an API: no rate limits, a RESTful interface and an affiliate program to make developers money.

To get a sense of what sort of applications the folks at Tesco envision developers creating, check-out this video from last year's Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC):

In fact, Tesco's committment is so strong, they're inviting developers to an open innovation day on August 5. Developers, customers and Tesco employees will join in London to improve online grocery shopping.

This sort of API should be a no brainer for companies already doing business on the web. Expect even more retailers over the next few years to cater to developers, because the return on the minimal investment has the potential to be huge. Trailblazers often set the standard. So, even if you don't have a Tesco near you, pay attention. Someday your grocery store's API could look just like theirs.

Be sure to read the next eCommerce article: Tesco Promises 2 Years of Service for Their Grocery API


Comments (18)

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"So, even if you don’t have a Tesco near you, pay attention"

- Erm, I though the entire UK was never more than 6 feet away from a Tesco shop.

[...] do you attract developers to the world’s first grocery API? How about by promising it won’t go away any time soon? That’s what Tesco’s Nick [...]

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[...] been nearly a year since Tesco became the first grocery chain with an API. Though we’ve been unable to test WhatDidI, it looks like just the sort of app that [...]

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This is great!

Just a note -- here at, we've just gone to invitation-beta with our REST-based API to search 170,000+ recipes, plus manage a grocery list in the cloud. There are obvious mashup possibilities here...

[...] grocery delivery service, MyGofer. That makes it only the second grocery API we know of. UK-based Tesco launched the first last [...]

[...] company that launched the world’s first grocery API now has a new mobile app, built upon its own platform. Anyone with a Tesco account and a Nokia [...]

iPhone grocery shopping app ‘WhatDidI’ For launches v1.2 on the

iTunes store.

‘What Did I’ is the first iPhone/iTouch application for grocery

shopping. The application exploits the local storage of an iPhone

application to allow the application to operate with no wireless coverage

and also to personalise product searches by merging recent purchase and

offer information, in addition to the expected full access to online

shopping basket, in-store offers and favourites.

Where the application is not connected to Tesco it will automatically save

all changes and later synchronise with The local storage allows

shopping list additions and changes to be made exceptionally quickly as

there is no need to wait to login to Tesco. Together this makes the

application ideal for shopping using iTouch and iPad in addition to iPhone.

“WhatDidI” for features:

* Fast start

* Works even when connection lost

* Fast update

* Background synchronisation

* Barcode scanner

* Running price total

* Keyword search by name, category, brand or description

* Search Offers, Favourites or Recent Purchases

* iPad and iTouch Compatible

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