How often do you find something at a store and wonder how much cheaper you could get it online? Now you don’t have to wonder–you can call 1-888-FRU-SHOP. That’s the number for Frucall, a first-of-its-kind price-comparison shopping service currently in Beta.
How Does Frucall Work?
Frucall is pretty simple to use despite all the technology behind it:
Call 1-888-FRU-SHOP from any phone in the US.
At the prompt, enter the product’s bar code number. That’s the number directly below the bar code. (Hint: don’t forget the first and last digits, which may be offset from the rest of the code.)
A computerized voice confirms the product’s name and states the price, as well as shipping information.
The whole process takes about ten seconds. There are no signups, no downloads, and funky add-on services or charges to your phone bill.
Frucall has been launched to the public in Beta mode, though it has already been tested for more than two months on an invitation-only basis. The Beta service works well, though there are still a few limitations:
During the initial Beta period, Frucall only searches Amazon. The designers, however, are planning on adding additional sites soon. They eventually expect it to become an internet-wide ecommerce price comparison service for cell phones.
Because the Beta only searches Amazon, you can’t use it for things that aren’t sold on Amazon. The Beta is most valuable when you’re out shopping for clothes, appliances, electronics, books, music, DVDs and stuff like that, but for now you cannot use it for grocery shopping.
You won’t be able to buy the product using your phone until this feature is implemented sometime in summer 2006.
First-Ever Voice-Activated Mobile Price Comparison Service
Mobile phone technologies are all the rage these days, from movies to games to weather reports to shopping. For the most part, these technologies have a dedicated core of people who tend to be very comfortable navigating all the options on the little screens and touch pads of their cell phones. Right now, mobile applications aren’t as appealing to people who are less nimble-fingered, less technologically savvy–or just less patient.
Frucall, however, might just be the first mobile application both you and your grandmother could use. The usability factor for Frucall is high since it’s all voice-activated, and, ultimately, that’s what cell phones were made for: talking, not running software.
Looking out for people who actually like mobile software, Frucall’s designers are working on a WAP (mobile application) version as well, which will be available in a couple of months.
In the meantime, Frucall’s voice-activated interface is a blessing for die-hard cheapskates: they can call the toll-free number from a payphone without even having to pay cellphone airtime.
In short, if you’re serious about saving money, you just got another tool in your toolbox.