9.1.17 Online Savings

ValueTag App Leverages AI to Integrate Online and In-Store Shopping Experiences Through Automatic Price Comparisons

By: Jessica Sommerfield

The Crunch: While many businesses have adopted technologies to improve their digital storefronts, streamline shopping flow, and help customers maximize savings with digital coupons, few resources integrate these capabilities into one interface. Founded in 2015 by a group of Apple and Motorola machine learning engineers, ValueTag applies these technologies to the customer shopping experience through its website, mobile app, and browser extension. ValueTag helps consumers enjoy a more personalized, satisfying shopping experience by integrating deals from more than 300 retailers with intuitive product comparison capabilities. And through automatic coupon loading and code application, ValueTag anticipates needs and automates savings.

Understanding consumer shopping preferences and behaviors is vital to staying competitive in the retail space. By examining analytics to learn what drives customers to the point of purchase, retailers are noticing some dominant trends: consumers want shopping convenience and personalized offers to maximize their savings.

Many brands have responded by distributing more digital coupon codes and developing user-friendly mobile apps, but even those strategies can fall short in terms of personalization. Consumers want retailers to perceive their needs and deliver the right coupons and offers based not only on where they’re shopping, but also on what they’re shopping for.

ValueTag — a comparison platform, mobile app, and browser extension on Google Chrome — makes that type of intuitive personalization possible through machine learning technology.

ValueTag allows consumers to find the best prices on products through its website, mobile app, and browser extension.

“Personalization is revolutionizing the space in a whole new way than we’ve seen in the past. That’s the main driving force behind ValueTag,” said Co-Founder Sapna Mittal.

Implementing technology that helps customers move more quickly through the buying process can improve their satisfaction with a retail brand and increase the likelihood they’ll return.

ValueTag streamlines the consumer journey in a way that leads to better experiences and more savings. It does that by integrating machine learning and artificial intelligence into an application that allows customers to comparison shop and effortlessly collect offers from numerous merchants — whether in-store or online. For retailers, that translates to a better bottom line.

Recognizing the Role of Machine Learning in the Consumer Journey

Although you might expect ValueTag to have roots in e-commerce, the story of its development begins with a group of Apple and Motorola engineers based in California.

“We were working on another venture in the augmented reality and machine learning space,” Sapna said. “The customer had a use case in e-commerce, and they wanted to create a small campaign for themselves. We saw a huge gap in the industry on the technology and the machine learning side.  That inspired us to pursue this new venture that is ValueTag.”

In 2015, Sapna and her team of engineers launched the ValueTag app, powered by CopperPix Technologies, Inc., to help consumers automatically compare prices no matter where they shop. After only two years in the e-commerce application space and very little marketing, ValueTag has over 1 million users.

Although its success can be partially attributed to an innovative team of skilled engineers, it’s how they approached the product — not as engineers, but as consumers — that explains the app’s rapid adoption.

“The main thing that drives it is the customer use case,” said Sapna. “It’s more of a human-experience application — how the user is experiencing the shopping flow. Coming from a background of Apple and Motorola, we try to think about how a consumer would use it.”

Drawing on real-life shopper behavior and implementing that thinking into personalized technology, ValueTag created a platform that allows users to get the most out of their multichannel shopping experiences.

In-App Technology Evaluates Digital Product Pages for Quick Comparisons Across Merchants

Modern consumers prefer to comparison shop across multiple retailers to see which is offering the lowest price, most relevant coupons, and other incentives, such as free shipping. And they often combine all of those incentives to get the most savings. The challenge for most comparison search engines is finding the exact item targeted in a customer’s search.

“Let’s say you’re searching for a Canon camera,” Sapna said. “If you put the title in a comparison box, it will search that text. The consumer might not put in the whole title, so the comparison engine will show the wrong things to the user, and that can cause frustration.”

“ValueTag uses a special technology that knows you’re on a particular product page and what you’re looking at. It will show you the deals or the prices available from different stores for that particular product, not for any other product.” – Sapna Mittal, ValueTag Co-Founder

ValueTag solves this problem by implementing the product comparison feature where it’s most useful – specific product pages.

“ValueTag uses a special technology that knows you’re on a particular product page and what you’re looking at,” Sapna told us. “It will show you the deals or the prices available from different stores for that particular product, not for any other product.”

Once the user has selected a product on a merchant’s page within the app or scanned a product in the store, price comparison is initiated. ValueTag’s search engine pulls all the relevant prices, drawing from the product title, product image, metadata, and deals on that particular item.

By improving the accuracy of a customer’s search for the best deal on an item across multiple retailers, ValueTag’s intuitive comparison feature provides the knowledge consumers need to make more informed purchasing decisions and capitalize on the best market prices.

Coupon Codes Load to Customers’ Carts and Eliminate the Need to Search for Relevant Offers

While many shoppers like to take advantage of digital coupons, finding them across the maze of brand websites, coupon publishers, and email advertising when it’s time to virtually — or physically — check out is a frequent problem. Sapna often sees this dilemma.

“When I go to Macy’s or Nordstrom, there are always people in the checkout line trying to search for coupons,” she said.

While some retail sites and apps will display offers to customers while they’re shopping, those codes still need to be manually applied to their carts. ValueTag improves that experience through its machine-learning technology known as Automatic Coupons. When an app user chooses a retailer icon and navigates to a specific product page, the system recognizes it and displays any offers that apply to that product.

“And once the product is in the cart, our technology will apply the coupons automatically,” Sapna said.

ValueTag automatically tests coupon codes at checkout to make sure consumers are getting the best deals.

While automatic coupons fit well with the consumer trend of shopping more individually and selectively, retailers also know that providing an enticing offer can drive purchases. Recognizing this, ValueTag has a feature for manual coupon browsing that allows shoppers to view and easily apply offers for any retailer.

Automatic coupon loading eliminates time and stress from the shopping experience while boosting conversions for businesses. Combined with price comparison, these innovative features both personalize and streamline the customer journey in a way that makes it more enjoyable.

ValueTag’s Innovative Technology Anticipates Shopper Preferences

As retailers continue to adapt to consumer preference, many believe that technologies like machine learning and AI are the key to the future — which is why ValueTag is growing in popularity. The app integrates digital deals with multichannel shopping habits for a more personalized consumer shopping experience.

Although the company has already seen great success as an innovator in the e-commerce space, ValueTag continues to update its app and browser extension with features that improve the customer experience.

“It’s a new technology trend that I think every enterprise working in this sector needs to adopt. Whatever ventures we’re working with now are touched by these different technologies and how they can impact people,” Sapna said.

ValueTag is designing new technologies, including advanced personalization with the help of chatbots which will include heavy usage of Natural Language processing for more accurate targeting and expansion to include keyword-activated searches that automatically display relevant coupons — much as Amazon’s Alexa helps its users with voice-activated requests.

Going after chatbot markets is natural next step as Facebook launched its Messaging platform for businesses just last year and similarly other companies are expressing enormous interest with AI for bots.

“We are expecting much more success with the new technologies like the chatbot and new app launching,” Sapna said.

The company has also experimented with other types of offers besides coupons, such as cash back deals and price alerts. Responsive technologies will link these features to today’s consumer preferences.

“I think we’re in a different phase right now,” Sapna said. “Enterprises have to adapt to consumer behavior and implement the technologies in those use cases. I think we’re going to see more of that in the future.”

About The Author

Jessica Sommerfield is a contributing writer for DealCrunch with over seven years of experience with online publications in the personal finance sector and other consumer-focused niches. Her 13 years of experience in brick-and-mortar stores prior to her writing career have also given her an insider’s perspective on the unique challenges that the retail industry faces.

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