A free startup idea

In the last few weeks I’ve been looking for something specific to buy and have had no idea where to buy it. Before Easter, I was looking for packages of Easter cards to buy. This item is everywhere for Christmas but not so much for Easter. Then I was on vacation in Concan, which is in a dry county, and I needed a 12 pack of beer. Then I was south of San Antonio and needed to buy some diapers.

There are lots of mobile phone Apps that let you compare prices of items in different places. ShopSavvy, for example, lets you scan the barcode of an item and it tells you what other stores nearby have the same item for sale and at what price. This comes in handy for big TVs and couches, but in my case I wasn’t price shopping; I simply needed to know where to go to find what I needed. I wasn’t going to drive 5 miles to save a nickel on a case of beer, I simply wanted to know where the closest place selling what I needed was.

So why doesn’t someone make a mobile App that compiles UPC databases like ShopSavvy but instead of focusing on price, it simply gives location? Furthermore, let me search for products by keyword like “diapers” or “beer.” At the time, I didn’t care if I found Budweiser or Blue Moon and I didn’t care if I got Pampers or whatever other brand of diapers is out there. I just needed to find the product nearby.

How to make money from it? Sponsorships? Ads? Promotions and coupons? Who knows, there are a lot of possibilities. But my thinking is it can’t be THAT hard to take the data currently being used by lots of apps, implement categories (“hamburger meat”, “toilet paper”, “beef jerky”) for searching. That way, the next time I’m on vacation and need a beer, some hamburger buns, some paper towels, and a bottle of vegetable oil I can easily find it.

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