ShopAdvisor, a locally-developed pricewatching product, won some acclaim since it launched an iOS app at the end of 2010. First, it was featured in the App Store, then it was selected as the App Store Rewind Best Utility App of 2011. Even more impressive is the recent news that ShopAdvisor has just crossed the 12 million user mark.
Founded by a team of ex-Nokia Boston stalwarts, the company achieved great success with its initial shopping app. And yet, ShopAdvisor decided to make a transition to optimize its product for mobile media. Integrating its “Watch” and “Buy Now” features with digital magazines, ShopAdvisor now allows consumers to purchase (or defer the purchase of) a good that they may find while reading a magazine on their tablet.
For instance, say a reader is scanning through Cosmo on their iPad and comes across a pair of shoes featured in an article. However, the shoes are just outside of the reader’s price range. The consumer can use ShopAdvisor’s “Watch” feature, fully integrated with the digital version of Cosmo, and track the shoes for price changes.
With tablet use and digital magazine readership skyrocketing, the value of incorporating a product like ShopAdvisor with tablet publications is becoming a necessity due to the uncertainty of advertising revenue. The major publishers are aware of the advantages of the product; currently, three of the four largest publishers, Hearst, CondeNast, and Time, are using ShopAdvisor with their digital magazines.
ShopAdvisor’s CEO, Scott Cooper, saw the inevitability of integrating his company’s product with digital magazines in trends they noticed with online shopping and digital readership.
“The tablet is incredibly interesting,” Cooper said. “We picked that as a way into the market because it is a huge part of the growth of almost all publishers and almost all new magazines being born are born in a tablet edition.”
Additionally, Cooper explained, “We have lots of people consuming [on tablets] and they inherently expect when they encounter something that they will be able to interact with a product.” The service provided by ShopAdvisor is one that publishers want to give its readers.
“Readers shopping on tablets is off the charts,” Cooper added. And, as he explained, trends show that more people shop on tablets than shop on PCs, they spend more time shopping, and they purchase higher value items.
ShopAdvisor, initially raised $4M from a group of angel investors that includes Rob Soni and Bob Davoli. Cooper said that they are about to start their next round of funding. Moreover, ShopAdvisor is also working to expand the group of publishers whose magazines they integrate with. One of the company’s most recent announcements is a successful collaboration with Time, Inc.’s ALL YOU woman’s lifestyle brand.
While ShopAdvisor expands and grows, it is staying true to the original core idea behind the app. As Cooper puts it, ShopAdvisor wants “to help people keep track of the things they want to buy later and continually be shopping for those things in the background.”
“We are not a mobile business, not a commerce business, not an ad-tech business,” he said, “we are an intersection of them all.”
What ShopAdvisor is, more than anything, is a company that has seen the future of online shopping and found a way to tap into the ever-growing market of tablet users.
Dennis Keohane is a teacher, journalist and contributor to VentureFizz. You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.