ShopSavvy: ROBO in Real time for Android

Svetlana Gladkova of had an interesting piece on ShopSavvy, one of the first and most popular Android Apps downloadable from the Android Market. She noted that despite some roll out difficulties that by 2 p.m. ShopSavvy had 3096 installs and 3033 users actively scanning barcodes (97% usage rate)and usage was growing 20% an hour based on their server loads.

Basically what ShopSavvy does is helping you find the best deals for a product you consider buying – both online and offline.

A user simply scans the barcode of the product using the camera of an Android-powered phone (for now it is T-Mobile G1 only, obviously) and the application will start scanning available pricing information. Once the scanning is done, the user gets information from both online stores and from nearby local stores (using the GPS functionality).

Right from the application you can either visit the website of an online store selling the product you are interested in while for a local store you can easily dial their phone number or view a map to get the directions. What’s more, you can even track the products you are interested in for the best possible bargains by setting alerts for ShopSavvy to notify you when the product makes an appearance in a store for a desired price

ShopSavvy is an example of real time online research and buying off-line (or not). It is a product that in some ways may redefine price shopping. Its rapid uptake among new users of the G1 indicates a strong consumer interest in the service. The test of the software is whether consumers adopt a new shopping behavior over the long term. Like Frank Fuch’s example of the cell phone as digital ticket, it demonstrates the integration of mobile devices into the fabric of our everyday lives and points to an interesting future indeed.

How does ShopSavvy make money on this?

Here is a video that shows how ShopSavvy works:

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ShopSavvy: ROBO in Real time for Android by

9 thoughts on “ShopSavvy: ROBO in Real time for Android”

  1. Interesting question as to how they are going to make money off ShopSavvy application. Actually I have not asked the developers about it but I believe a logical and pretty straightforward way would be to have affiliate accounts with all the online stores they can so that users making purchases with these stores sent from ShopSavvy could generate some revenue for the application developers as well. Can’t be sure but it sounds like a logical idea.

  2. Hi Svetlana

    Thanks for stopping by (again) and providing information. The affiliate model has some merit but doesn’t speak to the offline purchase. I suppose that they could have some pay to play model which affected ranking or presentation as well although that might compromise the results.

    It seems to me that much shopping is based on subconscious processes. This seems to elevate the act to a thinking process. I wonder how widely the behavior can/will be adopted across the general population…will hockey mom’s search out this app and install it once they have the phone that can use it? (oh no, I forgot, they’ll just have the RNC pay for it πŸ™‚ )


  3. Mike, I have actually already written a few of my thoughts about retailers soon to become Android enemies because of applications like ShopSavvy – based on real-life experience of a guy who bought the phone to his wife. She was very eager to use the phone as soon as she realized the shopping potential πŸ™‚

    As for offline retailers not to pay anything through affiliate programs, I think it will not hurt as I suppose ShopSavvy will also teach many consumers to choose a product they like in real life in a brick and mortar store – and then buying it online where the price will be significantly better. Though I admit I have no certain ideas on how they will make money for now.

  4. Hi Svetalana-

    You are one “blogging animal”, not only having time to write so many articles, but post here as well…THANKS!

    It will have some impact on shopping behavior but it is evolutionary and is no different than the pattern over the last 10 years. Bricks and mortar have not gone away despite the often large pricing differentials.

    You are assuming though that all shopping is based on a price rationale and that purchasers will always gravitate to the lower price. If that were in fact the reality in the real world you would only find one price instead of the huge variation we do find….I find reality to be much messier than that Milton Friedman view of things.

    One interesting way for ShopSavvy to make money AND overcome bricks and mortar “resentments” would be to offer a real time, place based (GPS determined) coupon for the item from the store in which the shopper is looking….ie they are in Target, find a better price at Amazon but a Target coupon (based on location) is also shown….


  5. Mike, I’m not sure if a “blogging animal” is a compliment or no, I am just sorting out my bacn emails (where I get notifications of replies to my comments everywhere) and I actually love talking to people somewhere outside of Profy πŸ™‚

    I am not assuming that all the purchase decisions are made based on price as we would never have any luxury stores where people are ready to pay higher for the comfort they get. But I think that for the people who are willing to download an application like this and will start using it, price will act as an important factor – because if price does not matter you would stick to your traditional shopping experience. And some people will definitely develop a new habit of comparing for better prices and also sometimes opting for an online purchase when the price is much better and the purchase is not that urgent so the delivery time required is bearable.

    And your idea for this revenue source is certainly excellent, you should definitely offer it to the guys from ShopSavvy, they will probably appreciate it.

  6. @Svetlana

    It is most definitely a compliment (assuming that blogging allows you to live a normal life outside of the virtual one πŸ™‚ ). I have added you to my reader and make your content part of my daily review.

    Yes, we are in agreement that some % of shoppers might change their behavior and delay or habits. It is certainly disruptive of the current shopping cycle.

    Who do you correspond with at ShopSavvy?


  7. Mike, sorry for the late reply – I usually forget things I need to do in open tabs when there are too many of them.

    First of all, thank you for the compliments and for subscribing to Profy. And unfortunately you are quite right – professional blogging rarely leaves time for anything but blogging itself but that’s my choice so I’m quite fine with it πŸ™‚

    Back to ShopSavvy, I mostly talk to Alexander from the team, he sends comments about the product my way. By the way, they recently reported on their blog that Best Buy can possibly do a price match for products found cheaper elsewhere using the application. It could be one case only but this could be an indication for the future.

  8. ShopSavvy looks pretty cool, and I heard piece a about it on NPR about a month ago. The interesting thing is always to see how you can monetize new apps. I don’t think people were on to how Google was going to be able to monetize, but they sure figured it out! For convenience, if this takes off, it could be great for consumers, but probably not so good for retailers! Curt

    1. @Curt
      I really don’t see it as that detrimental to retailers. If someone is using ShopSavvy then the retailer can assume that they are serious shoppers. Any good retailer should be able to turn a serious shopper into a buyer….good salespeople, good return policies, etc. I suppose that it will hurt those without those things but those folks are going to be hurt sooner or later anyways.

      I only buy my kitchen ware from William Sonoma. It has nothing to do with price (although I do price compare prior to purchase) it has to do with a life time guarnatee.

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