AI Goes Shopping


When I’m in the market for a big-ticket item like an SLR camera or laptop, I spend a lot of time researching the purchase. All other things being equal, I like to get the best price available. And when an item runs into several hundred dollars, spending time hunting up the best deal is well worth the effort. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars – on a single purchase – through the art of sale watching. I always use the internet for this but I’m told some people still use their newspaper or flyers that come in the mail. (Can this be true?)

I saw an interesting demo last week for a site that went live on March 2. It claims to save you the trouble of this time-consuming sale watching by using artificial intelligence (AI) to do it for you. Here’s the idea: You go to, sign up, and tell it what you are shopping for. (So far the site only handles electronics but I’m told it will branch out.) Then tell it which stores you are willing to shop at. You can also specify the brands you’re willing to consider. It brings up a list of what it thinks are the best bargains going. It gives each bargain it finds a score based on recent history so that if you happen to be shopping on a day when all prices are crap, you can see that maybe you should wait till your item goes on sale again.

In fact, if you are only just starting out on a shopping project, you can go to, tell it to watch deals, and have a flyer delivered to your email so that you can passively keep your finger on the pulse of the marketplace without really lifting that finger.

In the screen shot I took (above) on a shopping foray I did at on LCD TVs, you can see that Gazaro liked this deal. It gave it a deal rating of 10 and explained (in the red box) why it considers this a bargain. Even though was not in the list of stores I chose, it came up anyway because thought it was such a good deal I might want to reconsider.

Here is a diagram of how it works (sent to me by the PR department):


The site only just launched and I haven’t bought anything through it yet but it’s a cool idea and I plan to make it part of my next big-ticket shopping foray.

Happy (frugal) Friday!

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