Pounce, a recently launched mobile shopping app that allows consumers to snap photos of items found in circulars, print ads, and catalogs in order to purchase directly from their smartphones, is out with a new version today that improves the overall experience and helps you find and compare deals.
The Tel Aviv-based startup has been tackling one of the tougher problems with mobile commerce: checkout. While a number of companies, from Pinterest to Wanelo and many others, have improved product discovery by leaps and bounds, when it comes to actually buying the items you fall in love with, users are typically redirected to a retailer’s website, which may or may not be mobile-optimized. They then get frustrated with the checkout process, and often just give up.
And the way it goes about getting products in front of consumers is interesting, too. When the app first launched, it offered image recognition capabilities that let you simply snap a photo of an item advertised in some sort of printed material – there’s no barcode or QR code to scan.
Instead, the company works with retailer partners and third parties to build up its product database, linking item photos to inventory and pricing information. As CEO Avital Yachin explains, “within, literally, 20 to 30 seconds…you can use our app to scan the item, the application will automatically recognize the item, and we allow you to purchase the item in just one or two clicks.”
“The whole point is that you don’t have to type in your billing information and shipping information over and over again,” he says. “It’s two-click checkout from major retailers.”
To be clear, shoppers aren’t buying from Pounce, but are purchasing directly from the retailer, via the application, at the same price as if they bought directly from the retailer’s website. And with the simplified checkout option, retailers have the opportunity to compete against Amazon’s patented one-click checkout.
Currently, Pounce supports retailers like Macy’s, Ace Hardware, Target, Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Staples, and more are on the way. Yachin says Pounce plans to support a few other retailers before the holidays, including Best Buy.
In the updated version of the mobile app, out today, the company has added a couple of new features that make this kind of mobile shopping experience more feature-complete when compared to traditional e-commerce. You can now select different colors and sizes for fashion and apparel items, as well as magnify images to get a closer look, for example. Soon, Pounce will support using gift cards and discount/coupon codes at checkout, as well as an option to buy online and pick-up in the store.
However, the bigger feature in the new app is the addition of a deals browser, which lets you compare the ongoing promotions from all retailers. (Though before the app could recognize the images in printed flyers, weekly circulars and the like, it wasn’t actually showing what the current promotions included.) This ability to pull up the latest discounts puts Pounce in competition with other shopping deal-finders, like Shopular, RetailMeNot, Shopkick, Zoomingo, and others. But those apps don’t also offer simplified checkout or image recognition capabilities, which is what makes Pounce stand out.
The company, a team of five full-time, is backed by an undisclosed seed round of financing from local angel investors, and is currently raising its Series A.
The new version of Pounce for iOS is available for download here.