Friday, July 11, 2008

Retail's Killer App is Now Free For the iPhone

When I say "killer", I mean in the sense that this is the application that retailers have been worried about (or at least should be) making it onto consumers' phones. What is it? A free, innocuous little app called "Save Benjis", available for download to the iPhone via Apple's new app store. According to the company that developed it, Sol Robots, you can even use the iPhone's camera to snap a picture of the barcode in order to look up prices. It also provides access to product information and reviews, and enables consumers to buy it if they find it cheaper online.

The app is based off of the FindersCheapers website, which also does product search and price comparison. It is functionality similar to Google's product search, or MySimon, though for my part I had not heard of it before today. What makes Save Benjis different - besides being built specifically for the iPhone - is that it is designed for mobile use, for example with preferences to let users specify default settings for data entry fields (in order to minimize typing on the iPhone's touch screen, probably the most awkward part of the iPhone user experience).

I've said it before, but I mean it this time: if retailers have not figured out how they are going to deal with consumers who have access to online pricing - and product reviews - while standing in the store, they better figure something out quick - real quick.

Alas, I am not iPhone-enabled - having just finally gotten my Blackberry to sync with Entourage, I am hesistant to disrupt what works - but my husband is. We'll check it out this weekend.

TechCrunch's coverage of Save Benjis (among other iPhone apps)
LifeHacker's coverage of Save Benjis

1 comment:

Sol said...

I appreciate your favorable review of "Save Benjis". Unfortunately I have to make one correction. Although we would love to be able to scan barcodes with the built-in camera, "Save Benjis" can't do that at this time (though this is not for lack of trying). We have found that the built-in camera is ill suited to the task. It doesn't have a macro lens and so can't take a close-up picture clear enough to be usable with the OCR and barcode technologies we have tried to date. We'll keep trying though.

Cortis Clark - author of "Save Benjis"