A pre-mobile era effort to bring the worlds of online and local shopping together, Gannett’s ShopLocal was ahead of its time. But now, with the recent launch of its iPad and smartphone apps, startup Find & Save has largely realized the earlier promise of ShopLocal.
Find & Save is in many ways the successor to ShopLocal. Similarly it’s partly owned by newspapers and provides a kind of local shopping portal for its publisher partners, which is what ShopLocal also did in the past. This gives the newspapers a powerful engagement tool for consumers.
I used the site and mobile apps very extensively this past weekend during my own Black Friday shopping and found the overall experience to be terrific and incredibly useful. The only obvious missing element is the lack of product reviews. And some of the search results were a little off at the margins.
Despite these quibbles Find & Save offers what may well be the best overall shopping app/experience online — period. Once registered and signed in, Find & Save offers a truly multi-platform capability. It’s completely in alignment with the way consumers are shopping now.
Users can search online for deals and products in local retail stores. If desired they can also buy online from the retailers’ websites. The only thing potentially missing is a payment capability (however that’s entirely optional).
Some of the product data come from Find & Save’s newspaper partners. Some come from retailers and some from Goodzer. In many ways CEO Ben Smith and company have created the ultimate digital shopping experience. This crushes any “shopping engine,” including Google and eBay. It also arguably bests Amazon because of the local store data.
Users can browse or search by product category, by brand and by store. You can also see the circular ad from any of the included stores. All this provides users with multiple ways to shop before heading to the store to buy. Any item on any platform can be saved to a personal list that in turn can be accessed from anywhere. This is an incredibly simple but useful feature.
I can’t say enough good things about the digital, online-to-offline shopping experience Find & Save has created. At the margins, as indicated, things might be tweaked or improved here and there. Again, product reviews within the app/site would be helpful. But Find & Save has done a great job in total.