You’re in the store. You have something in your hand – let’s say, a new case for your phone. You know it will be cheaper online, but it’s in your hand now, and you like it. Besides, you’re going to forget to order it when you get home anyway. Or you could check online now, to see if it’s a lot cheaper. Theoretically, you could type in the name of the item on your teeny-tiny phone screen key pad, navigate around the web comparing hundreds of price options until you find it, and make a mess pulling out your credit cards in the store to pay for it online because you did, in fact, find it much cheaper. Maybe that’s an exaggerated version of what might happen, and maybe it’s not. But the point is, couldn’t that be easier? Thanks to the new Scanlife app for iOS and Android, it can be.
The Scanlife app from Scanbuy Inc. is a new handy way to compare price points & save money on the go. It uses your phone’s camera to scan barcodes and QR codes. If the scan is successful, the app will pull up an image of the item you’ve just scanned. You can designate this item as a “favorite” and read reviews by other customers. You can share a link to the listing via Facebook, Twitter or email, in case you want to show others what new book you’re buying, or what new hot sauce flavor you’ve just picked up. Arguably the most important feature of the app, is the link to the online prices. The Scanlife app brings together, in one simple list, all of the places your item is for sale on the internet and for what price. From there, you can find the cheapest offering, click, and purchase through that specific company’s website.
Another great feature of the app is the “Deals” tab. Similar to Groupon or LivingSocial, companies advertise deals through the app that you can take advantage of. Some deals running now include 70% off
professional photo prints, or 50% off an online phone accessory store (see, you knew you could find that phone case cheaper somewhere!). Within the “Deals” area, you can customize your interests in different areas. You may be 80% interested in Sports or Fashion, and only 10% interested in Health and Beauty, and your deals can reflect that.
You also have an “Inbox” where you can flip though coupons customized just for you, based on the barcodes you’ve searched. So far, my Inbox has a coupon for a music app, an offer for a discount on Beyoncé tickets, an advertisement for discount office supplies at Walmart, and a coupon for a rare book shop. Being a book-and-Beyoncé loving person who occasionally needs office supplies, I’d say none of the deals are too far off the mark, though I’m pretty sure they throw that Beyoncé offer in for everyone.
Last but not least, there is a point system. A user obtains points by scanning items and generally using the app. Occasionally there will be an opportunity for bonus points. Bonus points can be obtained by doing any number of things such as watching messages from sponsors, or by checking in at one of their sponsor’s locations. When you accrue enough points, you can use those points to enter a sweepstakes. If you enter enough sweepstakes, you are eligible for a gift card. The points part of this app hardly seems worth it. In order to obtain points, you have to give away so much personal information that even the $100 gift card you will be eligible for in 20 years wont make you feel better.
Other than that, the app seems to work pretty well. About 80% of the items I scanned showed up in the database (the other 20% percent niche-market items), so you can definitely find the basics and more. The most effective way to use this app seems to be for immediate price-comparison on the go. I probably would not make purchases through the app (it just directs you to the store’s website anyway), though I would definitely use it to scan things while I’m out, and use the awesome History feature to remind me of where the cheapest deal was when I got home. Overall, especially since the app is free, I’d say it’s worth a download.
Ready to try it for yourself? Go to www.getscanlife.com.