The online price comparison space is heating up and there are a few casualties already. Recently BearShop closed down. I believe that most of these services are not really tailored to the behavioral aspect of shopping. While it is true that many Indians do have the habit of comparing prices when they shop for something significant, I don’t think many are comparing prices on every other product.
I think these services should start augmenting and evolving their services to something larger and more encompassing – assisting a shopper! A case in point here is Scandid, which was formerly known as ShoppingWish.
Scandid has pivoted to a mobile first strategy and has released iOS and Android apps. It bills itself as a shopping assistant for the savvy buyer. The app is a reflection of this strategy. It has been beautifully designed and delivers splendidly when it comes to user experience. The app allows users to check products and their prices through 2 simple methods. You either choose to scan the barcode of a product or you enter the name/type of the product manually.
The barcode scanner for a smartphone is not a new concept and yet Scandid makes it very easy for a shopper to quickly open up the app and scan a product. Once the app picks up the barcode, it scans its database for a match and shows the product, its availability on online/offline stores, offers and discounts. The manual search also allows you to zero in on a product, but it takes longer.
Additionally, the search function is not very advanced. While brands and specific product names can help you get results, generic search strings such as ‘Laptop Deals’ do not return the results that you would want. As you can see, my search for laptop deals returned links to books for some reason!
If you do actually lock on to a product, the ride gets smoother. As you can see in the screenshots below, my search for the book, ‘The sense of an ending’ returned all the relevant results. It also showed me discounts and offers on the book and a link to buy it on various online stores. This is good as it gave me all the options in one single screen and I could choose a good deal for myself.
I tried scanning all the barcodes I came across, but the app did not have the said products in their database. This is a bit disappointing because these products were available online the last time I checked. I can only hope that there are many other products/categories I have missed which the app can successfully find using barcodes. One good thing about the app is that if it does not find any product on its database, it asks the user to send the product data to them.
Users who find a good deal on a product can share their product searches with their friends and contacts very easily via the usual social media channels. The Whatsapp sharing option is especially useful here because this can drive the news of a deal/discount much faster, in my opinion. Shoppers can also use the web version of the site to check out products while they are on their desktop/laptops.
One great feature of the app seems to be its ‘Nearby Places’ option when you land on a product. The app gives equal importance to offline shopping. It lists the offline stores that stock the item and also gives you an option to call the store directly.
The number one concern I have with the app is that it does not yet come close to being a full-fledged shopping assistant yet, even though it seems to be the best one out there. The company should look at aggressively listing out all products on its database and thus make its use case even stronger. I think they should also look at adding intelligent product discovery and recommendation features which learn from a user’s search queries and other related parameters. This will help the app become a shopping assistant in the real sense of the word.
I like what the app is aiming towards but it will require more effort from the startup towards entrenching this product in a customer’s daily life.