Newly launched Zoomingo is a shopping discovery app that aims to help you find nearby sales using either your Android or iPhone. With a focus on clothes, shoes, jewelry, handbags, beauty and home products, the app appeals to the everyday bargain shopper, not the daily deal seeker or the gadget guru looking to compare prices on HDTVs, for example.
Sales data for major retailers is available all across the U.S., including from stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s, JC Penney, Williams Sonoma, Target, Kohl’s, Dillard’s, Wal-Mart and more.
In total, Zoomingo has compiled sales data from over 70,000 retail outlets, using a combination of automated methods, manual data-gathering and “Deal Scouts” positioned in the top 10 U.S. cities. Currently, Deal Scouts are paid by the company to help pump up its deals database, but in the future, as the community grows, everyone will have the opportunity to be a scout. At that point, deal finders will be rewarded with badges, points and prizes, like retailer gift cards.
The company was founded by language learning service Livemocha’s co-founders, Shirish Nadkarni (Zoomingo CEO) and Krishnan Seshadrinathan (CTO). When Livemocha started, it initially hired language tutors to kick-start the community for the first few months of operation, before the crowd arrived. Now, they’re doing something similar with Zoomingo’s scouts. (And how we wish other services would do the same, instead of launching deserted, crowd-less wastelands!)
Even though my community (lovely Tampa, Florida) isn’t typically considered a top U.S. metro area, I was pleasantly surprised to find a ton of deals in my area for everything from kid’s toys to new handbags to beauty items and much more.
In the app, you can follow favorite stores and other Zoomingo users. Also, if you choose to connect with Facebook, you can follow your friends and help Zoomingo recommend better deals to you. (E.g., if your gender is “female” you might be shown perfumes, “males” may be shown men’s clothes).
As the community grows, you may find other users with similar interests and you’ll be able to virtually stalk their finds using a Twitter-like “follow” model. You can share your own finds too, by snapping a photo, adding a description and sale price.
A future version of the app will offer integration with check-in services from Foursquare and Facebook, instead of the in-app “check in here” option which doesn’t really do much for now. Later on, Nadkarni tells us, retailers could use Zoomingo’s check-in to push out coupons or other offers. Retailers will be able to host in-store scavenger hunts at some later date, too.
Nadkarni says he had the idea for the service after he took some time off from Livemocha, and found that his wife was having trouble locating nearby sales on mobile. So many apps were focused on price comparisons and barcode scanning (ShopSavvy, Red Laser), standalone check-ins (Foursquare) or promotions (ShopKick, Groupon), but there wasn’t a simple way to just browse local sales and search for items.
Zoomingo is currently self-funded.