Zappli is releasing a new version of its myShopanion iPhone and iPad app today which pulls comments on news feed stories published from the app asking for advice. Zappli is also announcing that is has closed its initial round of funding from 500 Startups, Dave McClure of fbFund’s new seed fund. The improved app should streamline the purchase research process which previously required significant time, skills, and returning to one’s home computer.
MyShopanion provides price comparisons and customer reviews when users scan barcodes or search for items. Last week, the startup won the “Promising Start-ups” VC Panel at the Web 2.0 Summit. Unlike Shopkick which incentivizes barcode scans with Facebook Credits, myShopanion is purely functional with no incentives or game mechanics. It seeks to revamp the web-based price comparison shopping experience popular in the web 1.0 era.
Previously when a user posted to Facebook asking for opinions or advice on a potential purchase, their friends had to click through to a myShopanion product page and leave comments there for them to be routed back to the initial user’s app. Now the app pulls comments made directly on the news feed or wall story in real-time, increasing the chances a user will get valuable feedback while still in a store considering a purchase. Since the app also pulls email replies and Twitter @replies, Zappli CEO Philippe Suchet say that with myShopanion, “Instead of having ten different conversations you have one where everyone can give their two cents.”
Other improvements include a more intuitive new user flow, and more comprehensive search. Increased UPC barcode coverage will increase the probability that scanned barcodes return product info.
Suchet believes mobile technology will have a larger impact on shopping and other industries than any technology to date. For this reason, he says it’s easy for mobile startups to attain funding right now, but finding investors with more than just money can be complex. He says Zappli chose 500 Startups after cautious consideration because “they can provide tremendous insights, introductions… and are doing their best to help as much as possible” despite having a large number of other investments.
Some people refuse to make purchases until they’ve spent hours pouring over research at home, awkwardly fracturing the purchase process into different phases. Others don’t do any research before buying. Suchet says myShopanion hopes to “bridge the gap by giving everyone access to research with forcing unnatural behavior.” With the tools in hand to make informed decisions, impulse buying could become obsolete.