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Summary:

Consumers have better tools now to keep track of coveted items that go sale. A pair of New York City startups, Hukkster and Trunqit, are giving consumers sales alerts when saved items see a price drop.

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Shopping is its own reward for many consumers, but getting a deal on a coveted product can make a purchase even sweeter. This holiday season, consumers have more tools to ensure they are up to date on price drops and sales for sought after items.

New York-based Hukkster launched in this past summer, allowing people to “hukk” or pin a product using a browser bookmarklet. When you come across a product you want to buy but would like to get for a cheaper price, you just hukk it from your computer and Hukkster will alert you via email or text message you when it goes on sale. So instead of opening up an inbox full of retailer emails on sales for things you don’t always want, you can just see when the item you’re pining for is now within reach.

Hukkster scrapes data from hundreds of websites including J. Crew, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Anthropologie. If a user isn’t ready to buy immediately, Hukkster will continue to send alerts until the item is removed from a user’s Hukk list. It can also send alerts on items with coupon or promotion codes.

Hukkster’s co-founders Katie Bell and Erica Finnegan last week raised the company’s total funding to $1 million, including $750,000 in new money led by the Winklevoss twins. The two met six years ago as merchandisers at J. Crew and reunited as management consultants before giving their idea a go in April.

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Hukkster co-founders Erica Bell and Katie Finnegan

Bell told me Hukkster, which now has 30,000 registered users, works for consumers because it’s not overtly social, so it allows people to shop and save items without feeling like they need to broadcast their shopping list. She said retailers also win because they can move inventory that might not get purchased were it not for sales alerts.

Hukkster doesn’t have direct partnerships with retailers but Bell said the company will pursue those next year. That could mean direct data feeds from the retailer and potential revenue sharing. More immediate plans are in place for an iOS app which is coming soon.

“Consumers and retailers don’t speak today. Retailers are putting out marketing campaigns and consumers are getting frustrated with hundreds of emails. We think we can facilitate those conversations,” Bell said.

Trunqit, another New York City startup, is now coming out of stealth with its own shopping tool, an iPad app that allows people to browse certain stores through the in-app browser and save products they want to track. Trunqit then sends alerts when the product goes on sale.

TrunqitTrunqit is trying to make its name by going mobile first, banking on people’s affinity for shopping via a tablet. The app also features different ways to discover what other shoppers are saving or “trunqing.” So users can filter by products or stores to see what sales are going on and what products other users are trunqing. Mick Malisic, the founder of Trunqit also created a separate iPhone app called Salestreme that allows people to just see streaming sales information.

So far, the service is starting off more slowly with more than 20 stores supported including Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Victoria’s Secret, Zara and others. Additional stores will be added each week and Android and browser-based versions of Trunqit are also planned.

Malisic told me he tried to start on a desktop browser but found the experience to be “sub-optimal.” He said the iPad provides a cleaner experience and it’s where shoppers are moving to.

“It’s like the Wayne Gretsky quote: we’re skating to where the puck is going to be. Things are going mobile now,” Malisic said.

Malisic, former director of marketing at Frog Design and founder of Hedgeye and Kapitall, said the focus right now is nailing the consumer experience. But like Hukkster, he sees business opportunities in providing a utility to retailers.

  1. These alerts are great convenience to consumers. We have a deal feed for Flash Purchase that shows all deals in a consumers’ category of interest and shows price changes when sellers bid on those deals originated by buyers. We are excited to launch shortly which will enable consumers to create their own deals, join others and share them to gain group purchasing power resulting in great prices.

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