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ShopSavvy contest aims to encourage mobile commerce

Big in Japan Inc., the developer of the mobile commerce application ShopSavvy, has launched a video contest inviting consumers to share their on-the-go shopping experiences for a chance to win a Google Nexus One smartphone or Apple’s iPad.

To win a Nexus One or tablet, Big in Japan is asking consumers to record a video, two minutes or less, describing how they used ShopSavvy to save money while shopping. The consumer must provide details such as store name, location, product name and amount saved.

“After spending a week in Las Vegas at the CES show, we were struck by how many people came up to us and told us a story about how ShopSavvy saved them money,” said Alexander Muse, cofounder of Big in Japan, Dallas.

“I wanted to document some of these stories and the contest idea seemed like a great way to create an incentive to go to the trouble of recording a video, compressing it and sending it to us,” he said.

Big in Japan is a developer of mobile applications for Google’s Android, Apple’s iPhone, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and other platforms and devices.

Mobile assistant
ShopSavvy acts as a personal shopping assistant, letting consumers comparison shop with more than 20,000 retailers worldwide by scanning a product’s bar code.

Using the bar code information, ShopSavvy searches the Web for the best prices on the product, displaying the lowest prices from the Internet and nearby bricks-and-mortar retailers.

ShopSavvy also looks up product reviews to further assist with purchase decisions.

To win the grand prize, consumers must star in the video themselves – they cannot use actors. They must show their phone running ShopSavvy and include their name, address and shirt size in the email accompanying their video to [email protected].

The Google Nexus One winner will be selected from the first 100 entries received. Only one entry per user will be accepted. 

All consumers that enter a video in the contest will receive a ShopSavvy shirt and other gifts, while supplies last.

ShopSavvy recently added augmented reality and QR code support to the application in an effort to expand consumer use of 2D bar codes.

Big in Japan said it added QR code support after Google initiated its Favorite Places program and sent 100,000 retailers QR code stickers to place in store windows for consumer scanning.

ShopSavvy Product Radar’s augmented reality feature was added to be another resource to help consumers (see story).

The application also began using PayPal’s new Adaptive Payments APIs to enable mobile commerce.

With the service, ShopSavvy customers can immediately buy items through their PayPal account after they scan the product bar code with their mobile device’s camera (see story).

Rewarding mobile commerce
The contest is primarily being promoted via word of mouth.  Mr. Muse also blogged about the contest, sent out a few tweets and posted it to his Facebook account.

Mr. Muse said Big in Japan’s biggest challenge he hopes the contest addresses is getting users to go beyond testing ShopSavvy in their homes. 

Consumers often download ShopSavvy and grab the closest item with a bar code to try the application out, but Mr. Muse said often the closest item is a Coke can or a bottle of water.

ShopSavvy can scan those items, but it rarely has comparison prices for them.

“After conducting their test, some users will send us emails like this: ‘No local results, barcode scanning is a joke, uninstalling,’” Mr. Muse said. “We urge users to take ShopSavvy into the real world and actually use it when they are shopping for a product where comparison pricing is relevant and of real value.

“If you find an item at a retailer with a price point higher than $20, there is a very good chance ShopSavvy can help you find the best local and online deal.  We thought videos from actual users would help tell the story better than we could and just maybe our ‘one-time’ testers would give us a real world test.”