Price monitoring as a standalone service doesn’t seem to be resonating with consumers. The latest example? PoachIt, a smart shopping tool that helped consumers track price changes and find discounts via both web and mobile, announced today that it’s shutting down. The company had raised $2.8 million in outside funding, according to CrunchBase, and had grown its shopping community to over 300,000 users.
Founded in 2012 Gidi Fisher, an early BuzzMetrics employee, PoachIt initially began as a web application before later making the jump to mobile.
To date, shoppers saved over $40 million using PoachIt, which offered a web extension that allowed consumers to track over a half million products at thousands of stores, then receive email updates when those products dropped in price. The extension could also locate valid coupon codes to be used at checkout. A similar feature set was available on mobile, via an app that also included a barcode scanner to track prices for items you found while shopping at brick-and-mortar retailers.
However, with very little notice, PoachIt announced to its users today that its service would be shutting down on Thursday, May 21st. Users have until then to visit their profiles and save their product information. There’s no “export” option available it seems – you’ll simply need to login and click each link then save it to your browser’s bookmarks or another online service.
Though focused primarily on the consumer savings associated with online shopping, PoachIt may have struggled to compete with Pinterest’s social bookmarking site which already offered a Price Alerts feature. The company claimed that Pinterest was more about “aspirational” collecting, not active shopping, but it seems that many today still use Pinterest as a way to keep tabs on their favorite potential purchases from around the web. That could have impacted PoachIt’s growth.
In addition, PoachIt may have also faced problems common to e-commerce businesses in general, like finding that its emails ended up in users’ spam folders, or dealing with the fact that Amazon can often beat prices without the need for coupon codes.
Plus, many of these price-tracking services are challenged when it comes to tracking sizes and colors – as PoachIt was – which makes them less appealing to consumers who want to track a specific item.
PoachIt’s service is not the first price-tracking utility to meet an abrupt end – New York-based Hukkster, which was backed by Winklevoss Capital, also closed up shop last year. Meanwhile, another price tracker Nifti pivoted into group polling and mobile messaging last year after seeing a general slowdown in the price-tracking space. And before that, the team behind Farecast (bought by Microsoft) found they couldn’t make price tracking a big consumer business, and exited to eBay in fall 2013.
The full email sent to PoachIt users today is included below. The company so far has not responded to emails, messages or calls:
Dear PoachIt Family,
In the past three years, we built a community of over 300K avid online shoppers, saved you over $40M, and delivered millions of Poach Alerts and validated coupon codes straight to your inboxes.
Our mission was to make your life a little easier and a lot happier, all while saving you real money along the way. Unfortunately, we regret to share the news that PoachIt’s price tracking and deal reporting service will end this Thursday May 21, 2015. Please make sure to visit your profiles and grab your product information before we shut down so you don’t miss out on anything you’ve saved under our care.
We have been honored to serve as Your Shopping Sidekick and “the only coupon you’ll ever need.”
Founder & CEO