Startup #11 – Snap It Now, Buy It Later

(6/2/08 – Update: check out this video! http://scan.jsharkey.org/)

Picture this scenario. You’re at Best Buy and you want to buy a printer, but you hate the idea of paying the retail price and think you can find a better price online. You just pull out your cell phone, take a picture of the UPC bar code, and text the pic to a memorable shortcode. The system reads the code, searches an online shopping database (such as Froogle), and replies with a text message detailing the top online prices and retailers for that exact product.

This is a classic “win/win” scenario. Consumers have a simple way to save money on major purchases, and online retailers have a way to deliver their products to users who are looking to purchase that exact item. This solves a major problem with buying products online: you can have as many pictures as you want, but nothing beats going down to the store and checking out the product yourself. 

Additional features could include the ability to purchase the items directly from your cellphone, online reviews of the product sent to your phone, or the ability to log into the website and access a list of all “scanned” items along with the links to the most inexpensive options.

I gotta say, I actually like this one.  Any other sites out there that are using this camera phone/UPC scenario?  What about a good name?

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4 responses to “Startup #11 – Snap It Now, Buy It Later

  1. Good idea.

    If 2d barcodes become prevalent in the future,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barcode#2D_barcodes
    which include more info than traditional barcodes, users can just send the pics without additional texts or commands.

  2. Great idea! What about UPSee.com for the name?

    Along the same lines, just having a UPC scanner on a phone could be a great idea. Being able to keep up with your purchases for posterity, budgeting, or like you say, comparison shopping. Keep the great ideas coming!

  3. Dude, I *LOVE* that name!!! I’ve been struggling to think of a good name for this one, that’s perfect…thanks!

  4. you’re welcome. Remember me when you get to the top! Actually this is an idea on par with Flikr, Youtube, and Myspace. You’ll be a star…

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