The Bar Code News recently checked in with Rylan Barnes, 31, one of the founders of ShopSavvy. ShopSavvy is perhaps the best known name in the mobile price comparison niche. The company, which closed a Series A funding last year that included Eduardo Severin as an investor, has been growing rapidly and has expanded and now employs a staff of 16. ShopSavvy has had over 30 million direct downloads of its mobile app and over 100 million downloads of applications that license their technology.
ShopSavvy income largely comes from selling ads that are highly relevant to what the consumer is doing right then and there. The company IS making money.
The Bar Code News: There are so many apps out there that utilize the UPC code - whether they are niche products, such as a buyer might use in a wine store to look up information about a bottle or for nutrition information - will this trend of an increasing number of apps continue to grow, or would there be some consolidation or aggregation of data?
Barnes: "I do believe we will continue to see both - merely making empirical data available is not enough. There will there be data aggregators, and there will always be hundreds of data apps for niches".
The Bar Code News: What have you learned by doing the development of this app?
Barnes: " "The world is still figuring out exactly what the mobile advertising animal looks like. When you are on 20 inch screen, users are more forgiving - when you only have four inches, users are less forgiving and their patience is extremely thin in the mobile context. It's better to show nothing than the wrong thing.
People largely don't want to be interrupted on the phone."
The Bar Code News: How about your competitors?
The Bar Code News: How about other bar codes besides the linear and QR code?
Barnes: "The ShopSavvy product does not read Microsoft Tag(tm), but it is something we would like to do in the future.
"Proprietary tags will have some traction. Microsoft Tag has muscle behind it. Because we are in a world where people like options, in the end we won't end up with just one (symbology)."
The effectiveness of a shopping comparison app can be dependent on the size of the database that the app vendor has to do look ups against. How about the challenge of having a large database of UPC codes - how did ShopSavvy compare with other apps and could it continue to grow?
Barnes said that they were confident they had the largest database of UPCs of any shopping app available. In a recent blog post, ShopSavvy claimed its Product Cloud 2.0 database exceeded 20 million items! The blog post goes on to say that:
"ShopSavvy has the best price on new products 67 percent of the time, while Amazon has the best prices only 5 percent of the time. The average competitor has the best result only 17 percent of the time. For used products, ShopSavvy has the best price 96 percent of the time, while eBay’s RedLaser only has the best prices 12 percent of the time. The average shopping platform has the best prices 9.5 percent of the time."
ShopSavvy has recently upgraded its QR Code Reader app and it now keeps track of things you've searched for and also lets you create your own QR codes.
As I wrapped up the interview, I asked Barnes how and why he had gotten into this. In the true fashion of an entrepreneur he replied "I couldn't help myself - it seemed like a fun thing to do. "
Here at The Bar Code News, we couldn't agree more!!
For more information about ShopSavvy visit their website at www.ShopSavvy.com
Written by Craig Aberle
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