November 16, 2010, 3:21 PM

TheFind goes mobile as more consumers comparison shop on the go

The comparison shopping engine launches an app that includes bar code scanning.

Lead Photo

TheFind's mobile app enables users to type in product names or scan bar codes to find product listings at thousands of retailers.

Mobile commerce surveys typically point to one clear conclusion: The most popular m-commerce activity is researching products and comparing prices. Comparison shopping engine TheFind is hoping to capitalize on this behavior with the launch this week of a mobile app version of its web site for the iPhone, iPod Touch and Android phones.

Mobile shoppers enter a product name or use their smartphone camera to scan a bar code; the app then displays listings for the product as sold by myriad retailers. TheFind maintains a database of millions of products from 500,000 brands and merchants, it says. If a shopper has enabled the location-based function in the app, listings for multichannel retailers will point shoppers to the nearest store.

Shoppers can access their free TheFind accounts by signing in through the app with their standard web site user name and password. Search history and saved searches in the mobile app can be accessed on the standard web site, and vice versa. The app also enables a link with Facebook. A shopper can sign in to her Facebook account in the app via Facebook Connect and populate a page in her social network account with products and searches. The goal of accessing TheFind and Facebook accounts through the mobile app, TheFind says, is to make in-store shopping easier as the app becomes a reference tool and shopping list.

The busiest online shopping times on TheFind.com are Monday mornings at 9 a.m. while searches on the site from mobile devices spike after normal office hours and on the weekends.

“To date, stand-alone mobile shopping apps have fallen short because they cannot connect consumers’ in-store shopping to consumers’ online shopping activity, either before or after they visit a store,” says Siva Kumar, CEO of TheFind. “TheFind Mobile works on the simple premise that a mobile app has more utility when it can scan prices in every store and also be integrated seamlessly with the savvy way that people shop from their homes.”

TheFind also is selling merchants display ads that can pop up within listings and feature special promotions. Best Buy Co., No. 10 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is the first merchant to secure ad space within the mobile listings.

“We are working with TheFind to experiment and better understand how shoppers want to receive offers while they are actually out shopping,” says Kumar Kandaswamy, director of API platform business at Best Buy. “We see a lot of potential in communicating our best deals to shoppers not just when they ‘check in’ but more importantly as they’re ready to check out, and TheFind is playing a valuable role in this effort to connect with customers wherever they are.”

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