Aisle411's iPhone app lets you shop faster

Katie Gatto · November 22, 2010 · Short URL:

Aisle411 finds your items, gives you user reviews, coupons and a check-in feature

If you have ever gone into an unfamiliar store, and needed to find something in a hurry, then you know the more-than-mild annoyance of the store search. One free iPhone app, launched Sunday, is trying to help you avoid that pain. The timing seems pretty good, when you consider that the pain of the holiday shopping is upcoming.

The app, called aisle411, is made by a company of the same name. Aisle 411 is designed to help users  locate products in specific aisles in select retails stores. Currently the application is in effect at roughly 600 stores in the U.S. Searches are done either by typing, or for the spelling challenged, via a voice recognition system.

The app also hopes to help you with the new product dilemma. If you are on the fence about buying a product, just scan the UPC bar code, and you will have access to user-generated product reviews. That way you can avoid the waxy chocolate or not-so-minty-fresh toothpaste.

Searches for a generic item pull up a list and map of every item of that type in the store. So you may want to be careful before typing in the word 'carrots'. Unless you are in the grocery list feature, which allows you to keep a rolling list of what you need, organized by the aisle and section where you will find it.

The app also tries to make shopping into a social experience, by adding a check-in feature and badges. That way all of your Facebook friends can know that you were at the grocery store today. The badges are cute, and for now at least, many of them are hidden, so you will not know you are qualifying for a badge until you earn it.

The only real advantage to check in is that it gives you access to deals and coupons, that can be clipped digitally. The system works like this. A user checks-in, and then finds an item that they want and scans the bar code. If a digital coupon exists it will be 'clipped' to your store loyalty card. When your loyalty card is scanned at check out the money comes off of your bill.

Aisle411 is not currently available everywhere. It's only available in four major metro areas, including Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, San Jose, CA, and St. Louis, MO, where the company is headquartered, have the service. Plans are in the works to bring the service to 13 more markets in the future including New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Boston. 

The stores participating in the app vary by location, but some larger names, such as The Home Depot and Lowe's Home Improvement have already signed up with the service. Several regional chains like Winco Foods, Price Cutter and Shop 'n Save have also signed on.

Aisle 411 is not alone in this niche, but it is unique. Services like Shopkick and Checkpoints  allow for check in with rewards for shopping, and feature the bar code scan aspects of this app as well. Though they do not feature the item location feature that aisle 411 has added to the mix. 

The current aisle411 app available only for  iPhone , but similar applications for Android and BlackBerry based smart phones are expected to be released in 2011. Aisle411, which was founded in 2008, raised $1.8 million in October of this year.

Aisle411 was not available for comment at the time of publication.

(Image from aisle411)

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