While hunting for products in store with a mobile scanning app can be fun when you discover a good deal, I usually don’t do that for more mundane everyday purchases, the kind of stuff I’ll buy every month. But a new mobile shopping app called NetPlenish is launching today with the promise of giving users a better deal on the bundle of products they regularly buy.
Comparing prices for shopping carts
The way it works is that users scan their household products with a barcode scanner and add them to their shopping list on their NetPlenish iOS (s aapl) or Android (s goog) app. When it comes time to buy stuff, users move selected products into a shopping cart and NetPlenish finds what it believes is a good price for the entire purchase including sales tax and shipping. If users are ready to purchase, NetPlenish uses its own algorithm and finds the best current deal on the total shopping cart from its more than 20 retail partners such as Wal-Mart (s wmt), Target (s tgt), K-Mart, Walgreens (s wag), Drugstore.com, Sears (s shld), Petsmart (s petm) and Sephora. After a few minutes, NetPlenish tells them how much they actually paid, which is often less than the good price it previously. The more items users submit, the better deal they can secure.
The NetPlenish system means that on any given purchase, different retailers might provide the products depending on who has got the lowest price at the time. Users can just check-out with one click with their mobile app and the items get shipped within three to five days to a saved address.
NetPlenish, based in Ventura, Calif., is also announcing today that it has raised $1.9 million in seed funding from Dave McClure’s 500 Startups, Gold Hill Capital, BHV Capital, TEEC Angel Fund, Ludlow Ventures and several angel investors.
Optimizing for convenience and value
What makes NetPlenish interesting is that unlike most other price comparison shopping apps, you can compare entire shopping carts and get the best deal on a bundle of products. NetPlenish is also smart in that it doesn’t refer people out to another retailer site; it completes the transaction right in the app, so there’s less chance of cart abandonment for retailers. And the check-out process is simple once a user has entered in their shipping and billing data once.
NetPlenish CEO and co-founder Dave Compton, former CEO of commodity trading company Opportunities in Options and former EVP of TradingMarkets.com, said he came up with the idea after signing up for monthly dog food shipments from a retailer. He realized that while that was convenient, it prevented him from getting a better deal that month from any other retailer who might have had a cheaper price. Now, he’s hoping that consumers can optimize for both convenience and value using NetPlenish, ensuring that each time they shop, they’ll get the best deal.
The service could still use some extra features, like manual search for products that users can’t scan and the ability to see similar products, not just scanned items. Compton said NetPlenish is working on those for future updates.
I think NetPlenish is a cool tool for everyday shopping. Most of the time, I’m just hitting the nearest drug store and hoping some of the stuff I want is on sale. But if I just put in some effort upfront, buying household stuff can get a lot easier and cheaper. This shows the power of mobile shopping apps and how it can work not just for single products, but can really start to transform the way people shop overall.