September 22, 2011, 2:31 PM

Retrevo develops a mobile ‘salesperson’ app

Its app service will present product inventory and recommendations to consumers in stores.

Kevin Woodward

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Emerging technology could help shoppers discover and evaluate products on their smartphones while in stores.

Retailers witnessing shoppers using mobile phones as shopping aids within their stores will have another way to gain valuable screen time with a soon-to-be-unveiled service from Retrevo Inc., which operates the consumer electronics shopping and review site Retrevo.com.

Product Graph is a Retrevo technology that can help consumers find products best suited for them, the company says. “The big challenge for most shoppers is where to start,” says Vipin Jain, Retrevo CEO and co-founder. The consumer may not be sure of which type of television, for example, to consider. A retailer’s mobile app incorporating Product Graph can point him to top-rated products and compare their features. The technology could, in effect, replace some of the service provided by a salesperson, Jain says.

For example, a consumer using a retailer’s mobile appthat incorporates Product Graph who shops for a laptop computer would see one product selected as the starting point on his mobile device display. The Product Graph technology also would display a product labeled as Best Value in Store and another one as Best Rated, Jain says.

“When you walk into a store it will tell you which are the three to four best products in the store and which aisles they are in,” Jain says. Retrevo expects the first retailers using the technology to launch in the first quarter.

This technology can help address a pain point for retailers who see consumers leave a store emptyhanded, Jain says. Consumers who cannot make a decision in a store may return home and browse the web looking for more information, and potentially buy the product from an online retailer, he says. “The store retailer lost a customer. You want to bring the discovery and evaluation elements in the store because you want to convert them into buyers.”

Data for Product Graph will come from information Retrevo collects for its web site and from participating retailers. Retailers will be able to place their own brands on the app, which will be available for iPhone and Android users. A tablet version is in development.

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