New research from the smart shopping service BuyVia indicates that 40 percent of all shoppers are “showrooming” this holiday season, i.e., taking photos or scanning or examining products in retail stores with mobile apps before deciding where to buy those products at the best price.
Meanwhile, a recent Nielsen survey found that 78 percent of mobile shoppers have used their device to locate a physical store, and 63 percent have checked prices online while shopping.
These are just a few of many indicators that mobile shopping may be reaching an inflection point at the end of 2012.
BuyVia is an iOS app and website that helps consumers find the best deals on consumer tech products by combining a “set your price feature” with UPC/QR scanning, geo-local deals and wish lists.
“We formed BuyVia to address how consumers are now shopping and accessing products on all platforms,” says cofounder Lawrence Fong. “There is an information overload that can lead to shopping fatigue. The whole process is inefficient.
“There also are secret deals–hidden relationships between sites and merchants. The (deal-comparison) service RedLaser, for example, is owned by eBay. By contrast, the deals we present to you are unbiased.”
To use BuyVia, sign in with one of your social identities–Facebook, Google or Yahoo are the current options. You can browse through a deep selection of tablets, smartphones, laptops, HDTVs, video games and the like, and if you wish, set the price at which you’d be willing to buy any of those items.
BuyVia can then send you an alert when a vendor near you or online offers that item at your preferred price point.
BuyVia synchronizes your shopping data across devices as it facilitates your real-time deal hunting. This becomes most useful when you are out and about and in the vicinity of a vendor – BuyVia senses this from the geolocation capability in your iPhone.
When BuyVia makes local deals from nearby retailers available to you, you’ll be given a digital coupon with a bar code to be scanned for instant redemption.
This geo-located, set-your-own-price capability can also be turned off through the user settings. The company provides a number of other privacy options as well.
Another key mobile shopping issue that BuyVia addresses is battery life – geo-location pinging in general depletes your phone’s battery quickly. Here is how the company describes its solution: “BuyVia preserves battery life by updating product information only when there’s a significant change in location and only if the consumer allows it.”
As with most shopping apps and services, BuyVia users skew female (60 percent), and its largest age group is 35-54, followed closely by 25-34. Casual and social gamers are the largest single type of user, followed by catalog shoppers and value shoppers.
The company, which is bootstrapped, plans to release its android app next year. It also intends to broaden well beyond consumer tech products and says it has 30 million products across all categories in its databases.