Big in Japan’s latest application, ShopSavvy™, formerly known as GoCart, was designed from the ground up to operate on Google’s Android mobile phone platform. ShopSavvy™ was entered in Google’s Android Developer Challenge and won the event.  Learn more about our award winning application:

ShopSavvy’s Positioning

ShopSavvy_Welcome by you.ShopSavvy™ informs the shopper. It bridges the gap between shopping online and shopping at the store. With ShopSavvy™ users can scan the barcode of any product using their phone’s built-in camera. Once scanned, it will search for all the best prices on the internet. Additionally, it will search through the inventories of nearby, local stores using the phone’s built-in GPS. Unlike the other price comparison web sites available, ShopSavvy™ solves its problem simply and elegantly. In a mobile environment, less is more. Users use their phones in short bursts. They pull it out, check some information and quickly put it away. Clutter and superfluous information are the enemy in a mobile setting. For this reason, ShopSavvy™ performs all searches by the barcode ID exclusively. Typing in long ambiguous titles is not necessary. Skip the search page and be confident that you are getting results for the exact product you are holding in your hand. Who wants to type long titles such as Cannon PowerShot SD870IS 8MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black) into a phone?

Application Description

ShopSavvy’s purpose is simple - inform the shopper. This is all the user will need to know in order to get started. After scanning the first product though, the user will find a few other useful features to help them enhance their experience.

Search - Users can lookup any product that has a barcode. They can scan the barcode with their
camera and ShopSavvy™ will decode it. If they prefer, they can also type the ID manually.
Prices will be grouped by online merchants and local merchants. After searching for the best prices from everywhere, users can be redirected directly to the web site’s product page or even email the link to a friend. If it’s a local item, press the phone button to call the store or even get directions using Android’s mapping application.

Reviews - Users can quickly swim through online reviews of the product. Sometimes the sheer quantity of reviews can be daunting, though. Who wants to scroll through 1500 reviews? Usually people are interested in either just the critical or just the positive reviews. This is why ShopSavvy™ provides a rating filter at the bottom to quickly get to the desired content. And it’s just plain fun to use. Quickly and smoothly scroll through the content by flicking your finger!

Price Alerts - Not satisfied with the prices out there? Create a Price Alert and get notified when the price drops within your range.

Wish Lists - Organize the products you’ve scanned into an assortment of Wish Lists.  This just offers an easy way to organize and remember products you scan.

History - ShopSavvy™ automatically keeps a history of products you’ve previously scanned. This way you can observe the product in the store personally and scan it to see if it’s worth the wait to buy it online. If it is, don’t stress about buying then and there. Wait until you get home and, using ShopSavvy’s History, make all your purchases from your PC on your big comfy screen.

Application Indispensability

Successful barcode scan on ShopSavvy by you.The problem with price comparison websites is that they’re never around when you need them. ShopSavvy™ informs shoppers quickly, simply and elegantly all while they’re actually out doing their shopping. Users will quickly realize just how much ShopSavvy™ redistributes the power in a retail setting. Suddenly shoppers can
make purchasing decisions based on information that comes from outside the brick and mortar store. Get reviews instantly. Know the prices online. Discover which nearby stores are selling it cheaper. ShopSavvy’s solution stays narrow and focused. It adheres to the philosophy that, in a mobile setting, less is more. It
doesn’t try to be everything to everyone. Adding too many features would dilute the effectiveness of its main objective - inform the shopper. Just like Google, ShopSavvy™ gets the user their content and then gets out of their way. All of this comes in a concise and aesthetically-pleasing package that is fun to use. When designing ShopSavvy™ we steered clear of superfluous and non-necessary features. Any feature that could be handled better by an alternate application was simply left to be handled by that application. For example, ShopSavvy™ does not embed a map into a small corner of its merchant screen. Instead it redirects the user to the mapping application dedicated to this purpose. The same is true for web-browsing merchants’ product pages and emailing links to products. It is also worth noting that due to the non-biased and independent manner in which ShopSavvy™ searches for prices, even hard-to-find items can be easily found using ShopSavvy™. For example, looking to buy Disney’s The Lion King? Disney has put this DVD “back into the vault” and it can’t be found in stores! ShopSavvy™ will still find it online. There will be several marketplace sellers offering used copies online and ShopSavvy™ will find them with no problem. Even novelty items aren’t out of reach with ShopSavvy™. Check out unusual items such as Baker’s Edge Nonstick Edge Brownie Pan (UPC: 089589700204).

Application Polish

The Mobile Interface - ShopSavvy™ was designed from the bottom up with mobility in mind. It breaks away from user interface conventions that are common on the PC and instead adopts new techniques that are optimized for a mobile device. For example, every screen is a list. This means that everything is scrollable which is especially useful for devices with smaller screens. Additionally, this allows the entire application to be easily navigated with just one thumb. Every item in any list is large - at least 64 pixels tall - giving the user an easy target for even the biggest of thumbs. Additionally, ShopSavvy’s screens animate when transitioning from one screen to another in an easy-to-follow, linear flow. These sliding transitions help the user build a mental model of exactly where they are in the application and what they must do to navigate to other areas.

Intuitive Design - ShopSavvy™ is so simple that no documentation is necessary to get started. All the user needs to know is that ShopSavvy™ will help them find prices while they shop at the store. All the other features compliment this main objective in a manner that is discoverable at the user’s own convenience. When they do finally choose to explore additional features, such as Price Alerts, they will be greeted with an empty list with a quick synopsis on the purpose of the screen and how to get started. Additionally, if the user is only interested in exploring the application’s features without building their own lists, they can use the menu labeled “Insert Samples.” This will then populate the entire application with sample data as if it had been used over the span of several weeks. While ShopSavvy™ does not let the user search by title, it is very forgiving with the product ID. ShopSavvy™ will accept several different types of IDs such as UPC, ISBN, EAN and ASIN. If a product has more than one type of ID displayed - books show both EAN and ISBN numbers - either one will work the same.

Speed - Everything about ShopSavvy™ was designed for speed. Users can get their phone from pocket to prices in as little as fifteen seconds. Also, there aren’t any “Please Wait” screens. Every merchant’s prices are searched asynchronously in a streaming fashion which is very convenient since many online merchants return their prices much slower than others. What this means is that the user does not have to wait for the slowest horse to cross the finish line before they start seeing the prices of other merchants.

Scalability - The ShopSavvy™ servers were designed from the very beginning to scale to a massive audience. They are all hosted in the cloud which means that spinning up additional servers to handle heavy traffic can be done cheaply, easily and almost instantly. The ShopSavvy™ web service is entirely asynchronous. This allows thousands of requests to be handled by only a handful of threads allowing each server to scale to a very high volume.

Battery and System Resources - ShopSavvy™ is designed to be battery-friendly, is very low maintenance and does not require much to run. It has a small memory footprint and a tiny storage footprint. All GPS queries are cached for an hour to prevent unnecessary lookups. And when searching for prices, all of the heavy processing is done on the ShopSavvy™ servers. These servers search through several merchants for each request but only send back a very condensed XML response thereby minimizing network usage required by the device.

Effective Use of Android Platform

ShopSavvy™ takes advantage of several Android features and Intents (an Intent is the term used to imply that one application is directing the user to another application for additional functionality).

  • Camera - used for scanning barcodes
  • GPS and Reverse Geocoding - used to help search the inventories of nearby, local stores
  • Always-On Networking - used to communicate with the ShopSavvy™ web service
  • Animations - used to enhance the mobile user experience
  • Mapping Intent - used to show the user the location of the local merchant and get directions
  • Phone Intent - used to call the local merchant, if necessary
  • Web Browser Intent - used to view the merchant’s product page or make an online purchase
  • Email Intent - used to send the product’s link to a friend.

ShopSavvy Coverage -

USAToday Forbes Busines Week Usnews The New York Times ABC News Boston Globe
Wall Street Journal Newyorkpost Dallasnews VentureBeat eWeek Cnet
NPR Advertising Age PC World gadgetell Stuff Phones Review

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