Blog

November 08, 2012
ShopAdvisor Helps Consumers Track and Time Purchases

With the
holiday shopping season rapidly approaching, retail-focused mobile apps are
finding innovative ways to harness consumer spending. Among those is Maynard-based
ShopAdvisor, which released its iPhone app
in September 2011 and now has 3.3 million active users.

Co-Founder
Andrew Mahon says the app was inspired by a gap in the mobile and eCommerce
marketplace. “A lot of times with your phone, you’re not necessarily
transacting on it,” he explains. “One of the things [consumers] do is get ideas
about products they might buy later. Say you want to remember a bottle of wine
for the next time you go shopping. That would be a really good thing for a
phone to remember.”

In
addition to remembering a favorite bottle of wine or other product, ShopAdvisor
can alert consumers when the item drops in price so they can buy at the most
opportune moment. The top item purchased on the app is women’s shoes, followed
by consumer electronics and women’s clothing. Mahon describes the target users
as “young, urban professionals, people with disposal income for whom shopping
is an event, not a chore.”

The app,
whose primary monetization strategy is affiliate programs, announced $1.45
million in seed funding in May. In August, ShopAdvisor announced a partnership with digital
publishing platform Zinio
.
“We’ve always been looking for where it is that people get inspired, and an
obvious one for us is magazines,” explains Mahon. “That’s the top of the
funnel, because you see ads or a fall wardrobe article.”

Unlike
websites, digital magazines tend not to include as many links. “Most of them
are really high functioning PDF images,” says Mahon. “It’s a single document
that has very nice navigation through it, and it’s really beautiful on the
iPad.”

With the
added layer of ShopAdvisor technology, consumers have a seamless way to watch a
pair of shoes or necklace featured in the pages of the magazine.

But
ShopAdvisor’s reach doesn’t end there. “As we look through the landscape, we’ve
identified a whole bunch of other places where people get inspired,” continues
Mahon. “It might be a billboard or the pages of physical magazine, so we’ve partnered
with a leading bar code scanning app.”

Partnering
with other applications has proven to be a successful strategy for attracting
new users who are already using the other app and start experimenting with
ShopAdvisor. The app now has 550,000 monthly active users.

Since this is
ShopAdvisor’s second holiday season in business, Mahon says they plan to draw
on data from last year to help users make better purchasing decisions. “We were
able to take a lot of the data from last year and do an analysis of what
happened on Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” he adds. “What we have now is this
huge body of data about when the most sales were available. One thing we’re
trying to communicate to users is there are hidden Black Fridays before
Thanksgiving—and after, too.”

Susan Johnston is a journalist and contributor to VentureFizz.  You can follow Susan on Twitter (@UrbanMuseWriter) by clicking here.

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