There is a house in my neighborhood that is already festooned with Christmas lights, while an inflatable Santa and snowman sit in the front yard. I first noticed this premature display of holiday cheer last week, and I grumble each morning as I drive by it. I'm still eating my kids' Halloween candy; I'm not ready for Christmas or Christmas shopping.
Thus, I hesitate to write a holiday shopping-related post, but Billeo has forced my hand with the release of an iPad app last week that could streamline your shopping efforts this (expanded) holiday season. Billeo, the online bill-pay assistant, now wants to assist those shopping from their couch on an iPad with a free app called ShopSmart.
The ShopSmart app alerts you to discounts and deals as you shop, from both merchants and rewards programs from your credit cards. In addition to saving you money, the app speeds the checkout process by automatically filling out payment and address forms.
The app is really just a customized browser. You can search for a particular item using the search field in the middle of the screen, or you can enter a URL at the top of the screen. Below the search bar is a belt that contains offers from a handful of merchants. At the bottom of the screen are four buttons: Offers, Daily Deals, ShopTalk, and Settings.
When you first launch the app, you'll be asked to log in or create an account. You can skip this step and start shopping, but with an account you can save your address and credit card information, which you can then use to autofill forms during checkout.
In Settings, you can add payment and shipping information to ShopSmart's eWallet. You'll be asked for your password each time you access your addresses or credit cards in the eWallet, even if you have it set under general settings never to ask for your password when launching the app. To delete an address or a credit card from the eWallet, just swipe on the item and hit the red Delete button.
Billeo uses Yahoo Search, and on the search results page you'll see a small Billeo icon next to sites where a deal is present. Tap on the icon to view the details of the deal for that particular site, without leaving the search results page. You can also view the particulars of a discount or deal when viewing a vendor's site by tapping the Offers button. From there, you can simply tap the Get Offer button to view the applicable items for that deal. Next to the Offers button is a Daily Deals button, which at the present is only a handful of Groupon offers. And at the top, you can tap the Home button at anytime to return to ShopSmart's home screen.
When you have found a deal you like, you can use the Fill Form button in the upper-right corner to fill out shipping and credit card information at checkout. The convenience of this feature might be worth more than any deal ShopSmart helps to uncover.
If you've read this far and don't expect to shop on an iPad this holiday season, then check out Rick Broida's post on Billeo Offer Assistant, a Firefox extension that offers similar functionality to the ShopSmart app. Billeo Offer Assistant is also available for Chrome, IE, and Safari.