myShopanion launched at DEMOFall 2010 back in September, and today, a new update has been released to the Apple app store with great improvements:
- Multiple sorting and refinement options in product search
- Ability to invite friends into shopping network and see what products they like, dislike, own or want – - – Instant feedback in real time on the app via posting to Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail
- Comprehensive feed simplifies viewing friends’ activity enabling conversations around products
Social shopping is one of the key web trends of 2011, thanks to the success of group-shopping site such as Groupon and the rise of online social networking as a mainstream activity. Product comparison services on the mobile phone have been around for a while, but it is only since last holyday season that we have seen a significant increase in mobile usage for shopping. The recession, combined with an improved user experience in Smartphones, could be the reason for this sudden mobile shopping frenzy.
I have tested the previous version of myShopanion against the well-known mobile shopping app Shopsavvy which has added basic social features very recently, the application being primarily a price comparison service with an efficient interface. Unlike Shopsavvy, which only lets users share their purchase on Facebook and Twitter, myShopanion is social-centric, allowing members to share and connect to other members directly within the application, while offering good product comparison features, including the ability to search a product simply by entering its name in addition to barcode scanning.
Other mobile social shopping apps such as Scandit or Barcode Hero provide a similar service but users can only scan a barcode or enter a UPC number to search for a product. All applications give access to user reviews and ratings, Bar Code Hero being the least effective in this area, may be because unlike the others, it primarily focuses on game mechanics to engage users.
I have tried briefly the new version of myShopanion and it has some notable improvements, the refine search feature being the most interesting alongside the price filter. The sharing option has been enhanced with three action buttons – like/dislike, own, want – letting people post quickly on Facebook and Twitter in one click.