Comparison Buying App ShopAdvisor Targets Blogs With Newest Update

6/26/12Follow @xconomy

Maynard, MA-based Evoqu has been flying somewhat under the radar, but its mobile app ShopAdvisor hasn’t exactly been doing the same. It now boasts a combined 2.5 million users across its iPhone, iPad, and Android editions.

And today, the company, which earlier this month revealed raising a $1.95 million seed round, is releasing a new feature it hopes will nab even more consumers for what it calls its “deferred purchasing platform.”

ShopAdvisor launched in late 2011 as a shopping app that allows users to scan barcodes and receive price comparisons for a product across different vendors. But its when consumers don’t buy on the spot that the app’s secret sauce comes into play. ShopAdvisor continues to track pricing information over time and sends users e-mail or mobile alerts as prices drop. It also sends them reminders of items they seem to have forgotten about, explains chief marketing officer Michael Maggio.

“In this context of reengaging the user, we started getting phenomenal responses,” says Maggio,  formerly the CEO of location-based security technology company Newbury Networks, acquired by Trapeze Networks in 2008. “The app would basically be told you were interested in this product, just not ready to buy it right this minute.”

This past winter, after it had amassed about 200,000 users, ShopAdvisor released an iPad app version to better enable e-commerce browsing and shopping within the app. Today it’s adding a “Watch Button” feature that allows blogs to serve as new sources of traffic for the shopping and comparison platform. As bloggers introduce and review products—say clothing or electronics—they can embed ShopAdvisor’s button (via a string of HTML code) that allows consumers to keep the item on their radar.

The shoppers don’t have to leave the blog to hit a separate site, but instead can set up an e-mail alert straight from the original blog post to track the product’s price. Those who haven’t used ShopAdvisor before can be prompted to set up an account for the site and mobile app, which also pulls product review and pricing information from across the Web, and shows how many other shoppers are watching the same product.

This update moves ShopAdvisor beyond the comparison shopping realm and into the world of affiliate linking, which helps bloggers earn revenue from products consumers purchase through links on on their website. Similar services include RewardStyle and ShopSense.

But unlike affiliate links, which typically direct consumers to a specific store for the item, ShopAdvisor’s platform is “retailer agnostic,” in that it provides information on the product across different stores, and outlines the best price. “We don’t care where you get it, we want to make sure you have all the information,” Maggio says.

For now, Evoqu pulls in its cash from sharing the revenue on products purchased through its platform. But it sees a big future revenue stream in the data it collects on shoppers and the roughly 250,000 products users watch through its site, by selling access to that information, or using it to direct companies on when to best market and push their wares, Maggio says.

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