Mobile shopping tools like RedLaser (s ebay) and ShopSavvy have been a huge help in letting users compare prices through barcode scanning and decide if the product they’re seeing in store can be found for cheaper nearby or online. Now, those apps are letting people not only find better deals but immediately take advantage of those deals right through the apps.
EBay, which owns RedLaser, last week showed off how a consumer can scan a product, find the lowest price from retailers from participating businesses, and then buy the product right through the latest version of RedLaser using PayPal. The implementation is still limited with Toys-R-Us being one of the few retailers to partner with RedLaser on the service. But eBay expects to get more retailers to sign on. Users can’t buy things on eBay or through the eBay app, just though RedLaser.
Now ShopSavvy, which competes against RedLaser and has just raised $7 million, is bringing similar functionality with ShopSavvy 5, the latest versions of its iPhone (s aapl) and Android (s goog) apps. Users scan a product and see a better deal from retailers like Walmart.com (s wmt), Target.com (s tgt), BestBuy.com (s bby) and BN.com (s bus). Then they can buy that product directly through the ShopSavvy app, which is due out Thursday, and have it delivered to them. If customers have set up a ShopSavvy wallet, they can make a purchase with one tap. ShopSavvy introduced this scan-and-buy functionality earlier this year in a limited beta but the service is now expanding nationwide. ShopSavvy 5 also brings a bunch of other improvements like better keyword search, improved comparison shopping and more local deals highlighted on its deals tab.
The rise of instant scan and buy raises the stakes for retailers. They have always had to worry about their prices relative to the competition, but now the consequences of being overpriced can be felt instantaneously. For retailers who integrate with these tools, there’s the opportunity to pick off a consumer instantly right from the aisle of a competitor. They don’t have to lure them over to their own mobile site or into their store. They can seal a transaction immediately. But they do have to price aggressively. Retailers who stand to lose a sale can also respond by price matching.
For consumers, scan-and-buy is another sign of how smartphone apps are making shopping even simpler and how it’s empowering users to always find the lowest deals from retailers. As Om wrote, consumers are becoming smart buyers who are armed with a wealth of data at their fingertips. Now, the next step for mobile commerce is to remove any remaining hang-ups in the buying process. If people want to buy, especially quickly, purchasing through these apps can be a big help.
This comes at a perfect time for the holidays when shoppers will be stressed and short on time as they look for gifts. As we’ve written, mobile shopping is going to be big this holiday season and the addition of instant scanning and buying will only add to that.