iPhone Shopping Assistant
By David Dorf on Jan 04, 2010
At Oracle Retail we do a lot of experiments to explore technology and its potential use for retail. These projects are treated as learning vehicles, with some going on to be incorporated into products but most "hitting the cutting room floor." This is pretty typical for innovation. Our most recent endeavor is an iPhone application called Oracle Retail Shopping Assistant, a consumer-facing application that helps with in-store shopping. Below is a description of what it does. Click on the images for larger screen-shots.
1. Enter a product name or scan its barcode. Select the product from a list of matches.
We embedded the RedLaser barcode reader because of its high accuracy. We played with Google and Yahoo services but decided to use Amazon because their product information was by far the richest.
2. Read the product description and price, reviews, and similar items.
Again, all this information comes from Amazon. Its great for comparison purposes.
3. Share with friends via Facebook, Twitter, or email.
When you find a good deal, you can share it with your social network. Or you can use your social network as a sounding board to see what they think. Obviously you need a Facebook, Twitter, and/or email account for this feature to work.
4. Save the item in your wishlist.
We really wanted to use Amazon's Universal Wishlist for this, but there doesn't appear to be an API. Ideally a retailer would allow its customers to save items on its e-commerce site for later purchase. In our case, the wishlist is saved locally on the iPhone.
This application shows retailers the power that consumers have, even when shopping in their stores. Since information is so readily available, perhaps retailers should expose more of their data via public APIs.
Oracle has already released several iPhone applications, but remember this one is not available on the AppStore since its just a proof-of-concept. Stop by the Oracle Retail booth at NRF and I'd be happy to show it off.