Frucall – a useful shopping tool or a toy?

FruCallI learned about Frucall a while ago but have never really taken time to look at it until today. This is one of those things that you put into your back burner and never have time to go back to again. I guess one of the reasons is that I am just not doing much shopping in the stores these days. Except my groceries and maybe some stuff for home (think Target and Home Depot) I seem to buy everything else online. Why is it important? Read on.

Frucall is about assisting you in making the decision should you buy the thing you are looking at in the store or order it online -- and you do it all from your phone. How does it exactly work? If you just want to check the price you dial 1-888-DO-FRUCALL from your cell phone, wait for the short commercial to play (this is how Frucall makes money), and enter the UPC or ISBN number of the item you want to check. If the item is found on-line then you will hear the price range and the list of stores selling it.

I have tested UPC's off of several boxes from my recent purchases (those that I could find around the house) and the results are pretty satisfactory. Most of the items were found with the exception of stuff I bought from Sams Club and Costco. As for the prices, the popular items such as printer or tape recorder would return 2-3 alternatives while less popular items would only have one or none at all.

In addition you can do such generally useful things like bookmark the item you are checking the price for or leave yourself a voice message tagged to that item. This might work for some however I prefer to use my PDA for things like that. First, it is visual (I can see it on the screen in front of me), second it is accessible (turn on PDA and go to your notes), third it is processable (I can copy, email, edit, or delete my notes).

If you sign up with Frucall for a free account you can then buy things on the spot via Frucall if you like the on-line price you hear. Keep in mind though that Frucall works off of a network of affiliated stores and this alone already indicates that there is a good chance you will not get the best price (think cash back).

In general I see one big problem with using this tool. Making a call and checking the price takes time and you are not going to do it for small items like tooth paste or a magazine. So it really works for big ticket items (priced $50 and up). The advanced shoppers (the most likely users of this service) will do their research before going shopping for anything this expensive. The mainstream shoppers do not know about Frucall or do not care.

So is Frucall a useful shopping tool or a toy? I think it is for each of you to decide for yourself. Everything depends on your personal shopping habits. As for my advice to Frucall team, get additional funding, do more mainstream media ads, and... support blogs like this (my big evil grin goes here). Educating shoppers works to your benefit.

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3 Responses to “Frucall – a useful shopping tool or a toy?”

  1. 1 Quentin Nov 17th, 2006 at 9:53 am

    I think you are correct in asking whether it will be useful to all people….but I think the obvious answer is that it will NOT…or at least not in every situation.

    I do think it will be useful to many people in many situations, and to everyone in some situations.

    For example, I love to do my Christmas shopping by going to a mall and just “window shopping”. I might have some idea of what I want to get people, but there are always other things that “pop” into view…sort of an impulse purchases.

    This is a perfect use for FRUCALL. Ditto for that “odd” purchase you just happen to run across….is it a good buy, or even availible from anyone else.

    Since I always have my cell phone handy, I am indeed armed to take advantage of FRUCALL.

    To me it is just another tool in the arsenal for the FRUGAL shopper.

  2. 2 Liliam Rodriguez Nov 17th, 2006 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks for mentioning Frucall! The beauty of Frucall is that it may be used by both “advanced shoppers” and the average consumer. We have simplified our services in a way for users who, for example don’t have a PDA, to be able to take advantage of the great features we offer. Because Frucall is so easy to use, without requiring a great deal of technology, anyone who has a cell phone can compare prices and ultimately save some money.
    I’d also like to mention that Frucall does not in fact work off a specific affiliate network. We get our information from comparison shopping sites on the Internet, such as and Yahoo! Shopping. Therefore, more than 150,000 online stores that are listed in these sites are automatically covered by Frucall. So the chances that you get the best available prices are very high.
    Thanks again for your input and please feel free to contact us with any more comments or suggestions!

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