Machine Learning + Browser Extension = Easy to Find Low Cost Shopping Alternatives

There’s a new extension in town, and its goal is to make your web browser (and you) a little smarter when it comes to shopping online. 

If you’re anything like me, the occasional “impulse buy” or “I’m too tired to comparison shop so I’ll just get it on Amazon” ends up costing me a fair amount of jingle-jangle pocket-change over time. But what if there was a tool that enticed me to pause for a split second before releasing my trigger finger on that slightly ovular “buy” button? And what if this tool worked like magic whenever I was on a product page – showing up just in the nick of time to save the day? Well, saddle up because there’s a new shopping sheriff in town…

Price.com

Price.com works as a browser extension currently available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. When installed, the extension comes to life any time you find yourself on a product page (Amazon, eBay, Walmart, etc.). I took it for a test run by searching Amazon for “Thunderbolt Dual DisplayPort Adapter.” I selected the first item returned in the results, and like magic, a banner-style pop-up appeared at the top of the product page. It was basically hollering at me, “Slow down partner, there may be a cheaper place to buy this!”

Price.com Browser Extension

Unlike price comparison or coupon sites, Price.com’s focus is on product matching, making it easy for the consumer to find new, used, refurbished, rental and unbranded options for almost anything. Its mission is to provide complete transparency to consumers in order to empower them to make their best buying decisions by matching all consumer goods.

Mystic Mojo vs. Computer Science

Whoa, Nellie… How does the Price.com browser extension know you are on a product page, just about to click that delightfully beckoning “buy” button? Personally I think it’s some sort of mystic renegade cowboy mojo, but the company begs to differ. They say it’s science:

“The machine learning (ML) approach uses text classification methods to categorize each product to a category based on product title/description. We are using the latest in Machine Learning and AI to solve some of the most complex problems facing the industry, especially with regard to product classification. Bringing together the generic and used alternatives alongside their new or branded counterparts, for example, entails building a classification model to categorize hundreds of millions of products and then finding the best-matching products within those categories using algorithms. Currently, our machine learning model is able to suggest the most relevant, low-cost alternatives with up to 70% accuracy. For the first two levels of a taxonomy category, accuracy goes north of 90%.” (Read more at Price.com)

Where does it work? 

Well, you can certainly go directly to Price.com and initiate any shopping endeavor, but if you want the scientifically-mystical browsing experience, the extension appears to work on most major retail sites. The company states that more online stores are becoming indexable every day as the algorithms become increasingly more accurate (presumably from ever greater use – that’s the AI part).

Apart from numerous partnering companies such as OWC, Price.com also boasts a network of alternative shopping options. This includes 50+ second-hand retailers such as Goodwill, Tradesy, Poshmark, OfferUp, and Letgo. They have added rental, unbranded and refurbished sites such as Rent the Runway, Fat Llama, Brandless, MassDrop, Monoprice, and VIP Outlet. And if that weren’t enough, it also aggregates used car sites, such as Autotrader, CarGurus, and eBay Motors.

The roundup

Price.com Browser ExtensionThat’s the general idea behind Price.com. A best in class matching technology that has precomputed over two billion product relationships using machine learning and AI, offering innovative product matching solutions to retailers, marketplaces, logistics companies and other e-commerce enterprises.

If you have any experience using Price.com and/or it’s browser extension, we’d love to hear your thoughts. The good, the bad and the ugly. Leave your comments below!

Yee-haw!



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  • Not impressed with it for tech shopping. Tried it to find best price for the 1T Samsung EVO360 SATA SSD and the 1T Crucial MV500 SATA SSD. Came up with over 60 unbelievable prices on the EVO360. All were on Ebay and the links that worked were all for the 250G or 500G versions.
    Its machine learning has quite a ways to go before it is able to figure out what the important values are in the search string.




  • I’ve downloaded the Price.com plugins for Safari, Firefox and Chrome. I haven’t been shopping yet to try them out.




  • Is this extension useful outside the U.S.?




    • At the moment it does not work outside the US, but I have heard there are plans to expand this in the near future. We’ll do a follow-up post if we hear anything else!