I will admit – as wary as I am about letting businesses advertise to me, there’s something I love about flipping through the circulars that arrive with my Sunday morning newspaper. Taking a look at the Best Buy or Staples inserts helps keep me up to date on the latest gadgets and their prices without having to leave the breakfast table.
Now, a new iOS app named Pounce wants to take that Sunday morning experience one step further, allowing you to purchase the items you see in Sunday flyers and catalogues near instantaneously. Just point the smartphone app at the item you’d like to purchase in this week’s Staples ad, for example, and Pounce will let you purchase it directly from that retailer using your address and credit card information stored securely inside the app. No barcodes are required.
At the moment, Pounce works with weekly ads from Toys R Us, Staples, Ace Hardware, Babies R Us and Target. It worked well with this week’s Staples flyer for the most part, though a $449 Toshiba laptop was incorrectly recognized as a $529 desktop, a few items failed to scan and a $129 graphing calculator showed up as $159 on the app. Pounce is convenient, but only when it works.
BuyCode, the company behind the app, plans to expand their service into Canada and Europe, hopefully adding more U.S. retailers along the way. “Our vision,” explains CEO Avital Yachin to Reuters, “is to allow purchasing of any product in any print ad.”
The feat is likely more doable than you think – Amazon has been offering a pretty powerful image recognition app for a couple years now. The app, called Flow, connects pictures you take of physical objects to their sale page on the Amazon website. That app isn’t perfect either, of course, but the technology is rapidly improving.
If you do give Pounce a try, I recommend you protect it by setting a PIN, one of the app’s included features. Pounce makes it a little too convenient to buy things, so an extra layer of protection is smart. You don’t want an unattended child using your phone to buy you an expensive surprise with your own money.
Pounce is a free download for iOS devices on the Apple App Store.