There’s no crystal ball that will tell you when the price on a certain electronic device is likely to drop, but as of Thursday there is an app.
Ecommerce startup Decide is launching a mobile extension of its price prediction technology. The iPhone app lets users scan an electronic device in a store to learn whether its price is apt to fall and when the next model will likely come out.
How does it accomplish this magic? The five Ph.D.’s on its staff don’t hurt. Together they’ve created an algorithm that predicts a gadget’s future price based, among other factors, on the historical price data of other gadgets in its class. Along with a suggestion of whether to buy a product now or wait for a better price or new model, the app supplies a confidence score, a price and model history, and new-product rumors from around the web. So far, CEO Mike Fridgen says it has predicted price with 77% accuracy.
Fridgen and much of the core Decide team aren’t new to predicting volatile prices. They helped build Farecast, an price-predicting airline ticket search engine that Microsoft purchased in 2008.
“The problem is very similar,” Fridgen says, “but we see different types of data in the pattern.”
Decide has added similar features that show shoppers how much an item costs online and at other stores nearby. But its standout feature — telling shoppers when they’re likely to get the best price — helps consumers save money in a way previously attempted by only obsessive technophiles with deep knowledge of product and pricing cycles.