Carriage App Update

Post by Mark

Carriage updated their app today bringing with it two major changes:

1) The app no longer plays a video on launch
2) The app now saves your credit card details

The video on launch was super annoying so glad they got rid of it. The second update, on the other hand, is a pretty big one. If you go to your profile settings you can now add your credit card to the app. This also works with Knet even though the app will treat it as a Visa card. You add your Knet card to the app and when checking out, choose credit card as your payment method. If you added your card correctly, you should get a small pop up asking you to select the card you want to use to place your order. No more having to type out your card number again.

With Deliveroo launching really soon I’m guessing we’ll be seeing a bunch of new features and possibly promotions and an updated pricing system from Carriage. Should be fun!


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Dear Carriage,

Post by Mark

Can you please remove the super annoying video that plays every time I launch your app? Your app now shuts off my music and podcasts whenever I open it, and the fact that I have to wait 6+ seconds for the video to finish before the app starts loading is even more annoying.

Thank you!

Update: Carriage just informed me they’ll be removing the video next week!


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Pelican Cases and Vintage Stuff at FITCO Systems

Post by Mark

I’m thinking about getting a Pelican case for my camera gear and so the first place I checked was at Al-Sabih. But, not only did they not have the sizes I was looking for, what they did have was expensive, like double Amazon prices expensive. For example:

Pelican 1520 Case with Foam
Al-Sabih = KD73
Amazon = KD34

Then I remembered someone once mentioned a store called FITCO Systems once that also sold Pelican cases. So I googled FITCO and found pictures of what looked like a stationary store / hardware store / electronics store. I asked the guys in one of my WhatsApp groups about the store and a friend told me its a very weird place, so weird that he couldn’t explain what the store sold and that I had to go see it for myself.

FITCO Systems is located in Kuwait City right next to Tatami and behind Solo Pizza. When I first walked in I asked about Pelican cases and they have them. Their prices were also pretty reasonable:

Pelican 1400 Case with Foam
FITCO = KD32
Amazon = KD30

Pelican 1500 Case with Foam
FITCO = KD48
Amazon = KD43

Pelican 1600 Case with Foam
FITCO = KD65
Amazon = KD48

Anyway here is the interesting part. I started walking around the store to see what they sold exactly and they had so much random stuff all over the place. The store has been around since 1986 and I think they deal with businesses and wholesale (B2B) more than with consumers. So the store isn’t really in tip-top condition which is why I kept digging up so much vintage stuff.

The store has a ton of items still on the shelves from when they had opened back in 1986, items that are no longer useful but they’re still selling. The place is like a time capsule and I think I spent an hour flipping through their shelves taking photos of everything from Palm Pilot modems to storage cases for 5 1/4 Floppy Disks. They had brand new Windows 98 boxes as well as Microsoft Plus! 98. They had discontinued FujiFilm FP-100C instant film, old Nikon 35mm film scanners, a whole bunch of 8mm backup tapes and cartridges, old webcams, and just a huge amount of random items piled up everywhere. I shared a bunch of photos on my instagram story @mark248am if you want to take a look.

If you want to check the place out yourself, here is their location on [Google Maps].
They also have a website but like the store, it also looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 90s [Link].


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PantryBee: We have a PantryBee app! Why?

Post by Hind

We launched our PantryBee iOS app yesterday and Mark asked me to write about why we made that decision for our business. As a small business with limited cash reserves, it’s always hard to make the decision to invest in a new platform, and it was a year of back and forth before we decided to finally go ahead.

Why did we do it? Well, it’s obvious to everyone that mobile usage is super high in Kuwait, and that a lot of purchases are done through mobile. We knew that, but we also wanted to verify against our own traffic. So after a year of data collection, we did find that most of our users were indeed purchasing PantryBee meal kits from their phone and that the majority of those were iPhone users. Armed with that info we decided to go for it. The biggest hurdle, of course, was cost. We didn’t have thousands of KD to throw on something that might not be useful, so we went about it as economically as we could with the goal of making our customers experience better.

The first step to creating an app is setting up an account with the Apple Developer Program. This honestly wasn’t that difficult of a process, there’s just a bit of waiting time in order to be verified as a legitimate business. The second step for us was finding an appropriate third party to assist with the App creation process. Seeing as we already had an existing e-commerce backend (Shopify), we searched for companies that had an app that would integrate with the Shopify platform. The whole process from A-Z took about 3 months to get to the current app we have out right now.

Though our site is already mobile friendly, our new app allows a more seamless navigation of our offerings, including app-specific promos, notifications and more. It has all the info and products available on our site, just better suited to a mobile experience. So head to the app store and tell us what you think! You can download our app from this [Link]

If you have any specific comments or want to know more about the process for your own business, feel free to email us at info@pantrybee.com and we’ll try and help as much as we can.

Post by Hind
CoFounder of PantryBee where home cooking is made easy.


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One Membership – Multiple Gyms

Post by Mark

A friend of mine who lives in Dubai is signed up to this gym membership where she pays a set fee every month, and then has access to a number of gyms. She loves it because she gets to go to one gym for spinning, another for boxing, another for crossfit etc.. all with just one membership. Turns out we now have something similar in Kuwait called AllympiaPass.

AllympiaPass is a gym pass that gives you access to over 40 gyms in Kuwait. The way it works is simple (kinda), you sign up to one of their packages, then you launch the app and see what options you have available today or on a specific date. So you might be interested in pool access, or you might be interested in crossfit, you select what you want and you book it. That’s it. The app even allows you to filter between mixed classes or same sex classes and also by the area the gym is located in or by the kind of classes you’re interested in.

The only thing that makes the process a bit complicated is understanding how the membership plans work. Here are the packages available:

3 Passes / 14 Days
Visit any gym once
KD6

8 Passes / 30 Days
Visit any gym up to 3 times
KD28

12 Passes / 30 Days
Visit any gym up to 4 times
KD35

Unlimited Passes / 1 Month
Visit any gym up to 6 times
KD52

Unlimited Passes / 3 Months
Visit any gym up to 6 times
KD140

So, the complicated part here is with the wording of unlimited pass. Even though it’s called unlimited, it’s not really unlimited. The unlimited pass allows you to visit every one of the gyms they’ve partnered up with, but you can visit each gym up to 6 times only. For example, say you enjoy the crossfit classes at Flare Fitness, you can only visit them 6 times per month with their unlimited plan. This way you are forced to explore and visit multiple gyms which is the whole aim of the pass. At KD52 a month it’s actually not that bad of a deal.

If you’re interested in downloading the app and exploring it, here is the [Link]


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ReQueue – A Waiting List App

Post by Mark

ReQueue is a local app that allows you to add yourself to a restaurants waiting list. I found out about it a couple of days ago so I haven’t been able to try it out yet, but going through the list of restaurants in the app, I don’t think you need to wait for most of them. The only reason I got the app is because Table Otto is on it, and they do get crazy busy on Saturday for brunches.

The app seems fairly simple to use and even lets you know if a place has a waiting list or if you can just walk in and get a table. It’s available for both [iOS] and [Android] devices.

If you’ve used ReQueue before, let me know how it worked out for you.


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Taxi Apps in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Although we don’t have Uber in Kuwait yet, we do have various other apps that pretty much do the same thing. Over the years I’ve posted about a few but never in one concise post, and since some have stopped working over the years, this list is of current active ones.

Q8 Grand Limo
This is my favorite app/service right now, and the one I’ve been using constantly. It’s really made my cabbing experience in Kuwait great, the cars are super clean and fancy, the drivers are very polite and tidy, and I haven’t had any issues with them since I started using them back in May. Costwise, they’re more expensive than regular street cabs but the experience really makes up for the price. Plus, they gave me a 20% promo code when I posted about them back in May so for me, trips don’t cost that much more than regular street cabs. They’ve got around 30 cabs in operation including a Mercedes S400 in case you want to splurge. I actually got picked up by the S400 a few weeks back when they were super busy and didn’t have their regular cars available. Let’s just say I forgave them for being late and they can always pick me up late if they’re gonna do so in the S400. You can also book a cab ahead of time which I’ve done when I needed a middle of the night ride to the airport. [Link]

Careem
Probably the closest thing to Uber in Kuwait right now since they’re Uber’s main competitor in the region. I’ve never used them but I’ve got friends who swear by them. Like Grand Limo, they also have a ride later option which many people use to schedule airport rides and they also have their own fleet of cars. [Link]

Q8 Taxi
This is an app I posted about a few years ago and were one of the early ones to launch in Kuwait. I tried using them back then a few times and had a fairly average experience and then one day, it just stopped working. Now it seems they’re back since they’ve been advertising their app pretty heavily. Haven’t tried them and don’t think I will, but they’re the cheapest option in this list since they use regular street cabs to pick you up. [Link]

If there are any other apps I’ve missed let me know in the comments.


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Report Violations to the Baladia

Post by Mark

The Kuwait Municipality have launched a campaign asking citizens to take photos of violations and send it to their social media accounts so they can fix the issues. They don’t mention the kinds of violations to report, but based on their instagram it looks like garbage related issues, abandoned cars, illegal banners and food related violations. To report an issue you’ll have to photograph the violation and then send it to their instagram or twitter accounts @kuwmun.

It’s a pretty great crowdsourcing initiative, but I just wish the process wasn’t so clumsy. A better solution would be a dedicated app like Deera. The Deera app allows you take photos, share the GPS location, mention what kind of issue you’re reporting and it doesn’t require you to have a social media account allowing you to remain anonymous. It would also make the municipality’s life easier since managing instagram messages isn’t the most practical thing in the world and instagram messaging lacks basic features such as flagging.

What I’d really love is an app like Metrash2 which allows citizens in Qatar to report traffic violations. Now that’s an app I’d have a lot of fun with.


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New App: Flat Real Estate

Post by Mark

‘Flat’ is a new real estate app that just recently launched and unlike most new real estate projects, this one is starting off with a large selection of ads, over 1,500 at the time of this post.

Visually the app is decent looking but I found navigating through the listings a bit inefficient since at any one point you can only see two listings at a time while scrolling. One cool feature I did like though was the ability to find apartments available around you. Say you’re in an area you like, you can just launch the app and click on the “Nearby” option and the app will find apartments available in your vicinity.

Flat is free and available for both iOS and Android devices and you can download them using the following links: [Apple iOS] [Android]

You can also visit their website [Here]


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Local Phone Apps I Use

Post by Mark

iphone6-2

Someone suggested I put together a list of all the local apps I use so I’ve listed them below. Any local app I should be using which isn’t on the list? Let me know!

NBK: They’re my bank and so I don’t have an option except to use their app but it’s actually a pretty good one. Quick to login with just my fingerprint, the app looks good and I can perform all my banking from within it. The only thing I can’t do is add new beneficiaries for money transfers. I still need to login to their website and add it from there the old fashioned way.

Talabat: Not a big fan of talabat, not a big fan of their app either. I literally have it installed and use it just so I could order from CHKN. That’s it.

Carriage: Although they charge a KD1 delivery charge, it’s the only way to order from some of my favorite places like JOA and DOH! Plus you can track the status of your order and watch the delivery guy get lost on your way to your house via GPS tracking.

MyFatoorah: I use this app to invoice clients and sometimes friends. Easier than having people add me as a beneficiary to their bank account, they can just transfer money to me by paying me with Knet.

Xcite: I don’t use the app to shop from, but more as tool whenever I am trying to find out the price of an item locally.

4Sale: Worst app design but also the only way to access the best classifieds website in Kuwait. I tend to just use it to flip through the cars category always looking for something interesting on sale.

Klean: It’s a laundry service app but they also clean sneakers so I only tend to use this app when I need my sneakers cleaned.

Alive Yoga: Since I’m a member at Alive, I use the app to check the schedule of classes and to sign up. It’s pretty good plus once you sign up, the app can add your class to your phone calendar so you don’t forget.

Other Notable Mentions:

SnappCard: Used to be one of my favorite apps but after their last update, they now force you to review your previous order before you can use the app again. Imagine if Talabat did this, forced you to review a restaurant every time after placing an order and not allowing you to use the app until you do. I deleted the app obviously.

Burgan Bank: Also my bank, terrible app, looks like something from the 90s. Very limited with what I can do in the app but thankfully they recently added fingerprint login and so one positive thing about it.

Go Tap: I used to use this app to buy iTunes cards from before I connected my iTunes account directly to my US credit card.

iBadala: A phone directory app, rarely use it anymore since I just google things but it’s still on my phone just in case.


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