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Shopzilla buys Zappli to provide seamless price comparisons across all devices

In a reflection of the important role that price comparisons play in mobile, Shopzilla is looking to significantly boost its mobile presence by acquiring Zappli.

Zappli offers several mobile-centric commerce solutions such as an instant online checkout solution and a shopping companion mobile application. Shopzilla will leverage Zappli’s technology to boost its ability to provide shopping experiences across all digital devices.

“We believe Zappli’s technology and expertise will help us create the best possible shopping experiences across all devices, including mobile, and has the ability to dramatically transform the profile of our business,” said Bill Glass, CEO of Shopzilla, Los Angeles.

“When fully integrated, we will have created a seamless comparison shopping experience across all devices,  and consumers will enjoy a greatly simplified path from product discovery to price comparison to closing the transaction,” he said.

“This will give consumers a much better, more efficient shopping process and will increase conversion and ROI for our retailer partners.”

Building a mobile presence
Engaging with their smartphones to compare prices while on the go has become one of the favored activities of mobile users.

There are already a number of well-known price comparison tools available on mobile such as BuyVia, RedLaser and Amazon Price Check.

Shopzilla, which reaches more than 40 million shoppers every month, is hoping it can leverage its strong online presence to build a price comparison service that extends across all digital channels.

While Shopzilla has not had a big mobile presence to date, the company expects to integrate Zappli’s technology over the next several months to better meet the needs of mobile shoppers.

Zappli is based in San Francisco. Its offerings include InstaBuy, an instant online checkout solution, and myShopanion, a mobile social shopping application.

Social integration
App users are able to scan bar codes, search millions of products by brand or name, get product feedback from friends using social media or email, view their friends’ shopping feed, save products to a wish list and share it with friends, find the best price for items and skip retailers forms so they can quickly complete a purchase from their phone.

“Mobile currently represents a small percentage of our business, but is growing significantly,” Mr. Glass said. “As consumer behavior changes to include mobile as a fundamental part of the holistic shopping process, we want to deliver exceptional shopping experiences wherever and whenever our users want them.

“As a result, we have been investing heavily in improving our mobile-optimized Web sites and also in new and improved mobile apps for both our comparison-shopping experiences and our product discovery experience on Beso,” he said.

Reducing checkout friction
The entire Zappli team has joined Shopzilla and its co-founder and CEO, Philippe Suchet, has become chief strategy officer at Shopzilla.

The deal also addresses the challenges that many consumers face completing purchases via a mobile device since the screen is so small and the checkout process often involves multiple screens. InstaBuy is a universal, two-click checkout process.

“It is well understood that conversion suffers on mobile due to the challenges of filling out checkout forms,” Mr. Glass said.

“We believe that Zappli’s technology and expertise will help us reduce that checkout friction and improve conversion and ROI for our retail partners as a result,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York