SnapUp wants to make bargain hunting as simple as taking a screenshot. The company launched a retail app Tuesday with $600,000 in seed funding that lets shoppers easily track products and price drops on their phones.
"We believe it's the ultimate tool for mobile shopping," cofounder Shan Mehta told Fast Company. "There's all this activity on mobile, yet there's no good way of organizing on mobile."
SnapUp tracks products that shoppers screenshot off a retailer's mobile website or app. A bookmarking tool organizes the products into different shopping lists—almost like a shoppable Pinterest that users can purchase items from directly. However, unlike Pinterest, SnapUp's largely devoid of sharing features. "We stripped out all social features," he said. "By default, none of this is public. It's very important for us to build that trust with the user."
Though many smartphone owners are familiar with the process of taking a screenshot, it's a user experience most mobile apps haven't leveraged. "The way we think of it, it's a cool hack," Mehta said about the user experience, which SnapUp is looking to patent. "It saves [screenshots] as pixels, and we turn those pixels into real data."
When users take a screenshot, the app extracts relevant data, such as product name, photo, and price, from the image. In the background, SnapUp is constantly monitoring the prices of saved products, sending shoppers notifications when it detects a drop in price.
Currently, SnapUp makes its money through affiliate links, which the company is also using as a metric to gauge consumer engagement. "That's more important to us because we want to know if we're creating value if someone checks out. That's more valuable than the actual affiliate," he added.
At launch, the app will work with about 1,000 retail websites, including Amazon and Target, and it will look for changes in prices from the original vendor where the screenshot was taken. Down the line, SnapUp will be able to comparison shop across other retailers online, Mehta said.
"What we want to do with this information is, once you tag it or bookmark it, we want to give you some interesting value around it," he said. "Is it available elsewhere? Is it in stock? Out of stock? Is it available locally? There's a lot of cool things you can do to add value to a user when you can capture the intent."