SnipSnap Debuts Scout, A Deal-Finding Virtual Assistant

However, unlike barcode scanning apps such as ShopSavvy, Scout doesn’t merely return a list of other stores’ prices – it actually filters that list based on your current store’s price-matching policy. In other words, it will only show you relevant price-match opportunities. It also helpfully provides a copy of the store’s price-matching policy, in case your cashier is unaware.

While these results are more comprehensive, they’re also not as fast as competitors’ barcode scanners and price-matching tools. Designed for those planning their purchases rather than looking for a last-minute way to save money while at the register, Scout can take up to five minutes to find the best deals, the company says.

The feature has been in development for several months, and was beta tested with a closed group for around a month, SnipSnap founder Ted Mann tells us. “Over the course of the beta, the average user was saving around 15 percent,” he says. “And a lot of users were saving well over that.”

The Scout service itself isn’t just a bot, but rather a “human-mediated AI,” Mann adds. That is, it does include a few automated prompts, but humans also trigger other questions while in conversation with users.

“Depending on what type of product you submit, and depending on if you have a store preference, it guides you through what deals are appropriate, and what follow-up questions to ask,” Mann explains. Some of those questions are automated, and others come from the human staff. “Our hope is that, over time, we can automate more pieces,” he says.