These days, it’s all about the savings. Whether you clip coupons, compare prices or price-match stores with sale ads, everyone is trying to save a penny here and there. So of course, why not include technology to make this easier and faster?
In steps an iPhone app called “Pic2Shop Barcode Scanner.” Pic2Shop is a free iPhone app, and gives you full functionality with some simple ads which can be removed by purchasing the “full” version for £0.61. However, the ads are easy to overlook and are not obtrusive during use, so upgrading is really not that necessary unless you want to put food on the table of the developers of Pic2Shop – which I suppose wouldn’t be half bad of an idea if you want them to keep making awesome apps like this!
Pic2Shop is pretty ingenious. It utilizes your iPhone’s built-in camera as a barcode scanner. After starting up Pic2Shop, you click on the “Scanner” button to bring up your iPhone camera screen. There is a red bar (the “scanner”) on the screen, in which you line up the bar with the barcode or UPC of a product (food, book, electronics, etc.). Once it focuses in on the barcode, it will make a beeping sound and process the UPC.
The next screen that comes up is your results and comparison screen. This screen will show a photo of the item you just scanned, and then on the right will list online stores that carry the product and their current prices. Of course, this list does not include shipping charges or anything along that line, just a basic price of the product on well-known shopping sites.
For example, I scanned in my Xbox 360 game Call of Duty: Black Ops. (Yes, I’m a woman and I play shoot-em-up games. You may envy me now.) It instantly picked up the barcode, and then gave me a very extensive list of online retailers that carry the game–every site from Amazon.com, Buy.com, CompUSA, even eBay. It posts their price, and you can investigate further by clicking on the name of the retailer to be taken to the website where you can view additional specs on the product.
What happens if the scanner can’t seem to scan your product? Pic2Shop has the option of allowing you to enter in a UPC using a keypad if you run into this issue. A perfect example is the can of Sierra Mist I am drinking–because of the “shiny factor” of my aluminium can, it was unable to pick up on the UPC . A simple keypad entry of the UPC numbers allowed me to compare prices on Sierra Mist.
I love the ease of use and the functionality of the Pic2Shop program. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out and start using it right away. Simply go to the scanner, scan the product’s barcode, and you’re on your way to comparing prices.
However, the one stink I will raise about this program is the fact that it only compares prices on national websites and retail shops. If I’m shopping for, say, groceries, I’m not going to order something like that online, I’d rather find out who has the cheapest price on Hamburger Helper somewhere nearby. Buying it on bulk and paying shipping from Amazon just doesn’t make sense for my little family of two. The option of localized pricing (for example, does Kmart carry this for less or does Walmart?) would be a big bonus for shoppers like me who tend to price-match items for coupon savings at the grocery store. But if you’re in the market for electronics, DVDs, games, or anything along that line, it is an excellent way to determine whether you should purchase your goods online or just pick up the item at the store.
Pic2Shop is a pretty powerful app considering it is free and utilizes their barcode scanning abilities to help you save money. Because these days, we want to save every penny we can!
Sara Haley is an avid writer and self-proclaimed iPhone junkie that writes and reviews apps for Tech on the Go, as well as HappyApping.com.