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ShopSavvy upgrades Android bar code scanning app with deals

ShopSavvy Inc. has launched a new version of its Android shopping application featuring crowd-sourced bargains and streaming deals.

The application lets consumers scan the UPC, EAN or QR bar codes of products they want to buy and do immediate, in-store price comparisons with local and online retailers. ShopSavvy 4’s new Springboard portal, modeled on the Android Market, includes a “scans happening right now” feature that gives users a glimpse of the shopping activity of others.

“ShopSavvy was built prior to the release of Android 1.0 so there are some ticking time bombs in the ShopSavvy code that required a complete rewrite of the app,” said Alexander Muse, cofounder of ShopSavvy, Dallas. “Since 2008, Android has evolved and with it some of the tools users depend on such as the battery meter.

“The way we incorporated ShopSavvy into the phone made the battery meter assume we used more power than we actually used,” he said. “ShopSavvy 4 resolves these issues.”

ShopSavvy claims that it has more than 7 million active monthly users and has achieved more than 10 million downloads on Android phones since it won Google’s original Android Developer Challenge in 2008.

For advertisers, ShopSavvy now offers AdOns, targeted advertising, coupons, warranty offers and promotions delivered when users are standing in a retail store with a potential purchase in hand.

AdOns combine location- and product-specific data to deliver marketing content to users.

ShopSavvy’s AdOn advertising framework features video content, Facebook integration and gaming modalities to help users learn more about the products they scan.

From health tips, allergy alerts, movie/game trailers to reviews, AdOns is designed to create a more complete picture of a particular product.

“AdOns create enhanced product experiences for users and are the product we sell to retailers and brands,” Mr. Muse said. “With ShopSavvy 4 we can incorporate social shopping, couponing, crowd sourced data, rebates, warranties and a whole host of cool opportunities.”

Live and local deals
New and updated features in ShopSavvy 4 for Android include Deals, a Twitter-like stream of bargains and special offers that include “live” deals found by other users and local deals from ShopSavvy partners such as Groupon.

Current offers in the Deals stream give users a chance to win everything from laptops to iPads by scanning the bar codes of various products.

The most requested feature from users has been the ability to add and edit products, per ShopSavvy.

Mr. Muse said that users wanted to add products that were not in the system, or to fix or customize the products they scanned – adding their own pictures or titles, for example.

Now users can edit the product image and title of any product using the application.

ShopSavvy has more than 22 million product photos in the system, and the company claims users are adding more than five per minute. 

Users can also add their own ratings and reviews of any product to share with the ShopSavvy community.

New scanner technology
ShopSavvy 4 gives Android users the same scanning technology originally implemented in the iPhone version, which the company claims is almost twice as fast as the original Android scanner.

Approximately 20 percent of Android users have phones with fixed focal-length cameras. ShopSavvy 4 for Android supports both fixed focal-length and variable focal-length cameras, scanning all 1D and 2D bar codes.

ShopSavvy 4 for Android lets users access the latest version of ShopSavvy’s product/retailer catalog, PriceNark 4, which extends product coverage by 50 percent.

PriceNark 4 features product and price data from the community of ShopSavvy users.

Every minute, more than five prices are added by users, making PriceNark 4 the most complete local search engine.

ShopSavvy 4 also includes product- and list-sharing options for Facebook, Twitter and email, letting users easily pass along deals and discoveries to their friends.

The new version of ShopSavvy allows users to install a keyword search widget on the home screen, letting them type in a product or UPC code to find out which local and online stores carry the item.

ShopSavvy 4 contains more information about the retailers who carry the products user scan.

Users can call the store, get driving directions, visit the mobile Web site or find out the price-matching policy of the retailer.

Consumers can check to see if the store they are standing in will match the lower price they found elsewhere using the application.

“Mobile engagement continues to be a challenge for brands and retailers,” Mr. Muse said. “Our goal is to create a very contextual and rich experience for users through the engagement of brands and retailers.

“Our track record for AdOn user engagement is very good – our average click-through rate is over 35 percent now,” he said. “Mobile bar code scanning is simply a means to an end.

“Apps like ShopSavvy seek to enhance the shopping experience after the scan—brands and retailers are encouraged to further enrich that experience.”

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily