Is Taggle the next big thing?


Retail TouchPoints: Taggle Brings Mobile Bids to Brick & Mortar Stores 3/11/09


“Taggle” is a new concept designed to allow consumers in a brick-and-mortar retail store to bid on items in a no-hassle way via the mobile device. While designed to work optimally for the iPhone and iPod touch, Taggle can also work for owners of other phones via SMS messaging. In September 2008, the Consumer Electronic Association selected Taggle as one of 15 finalists worldwide as one of the most innovative applications of 2008.

“Haggling is a reality of the retail environment,” said Michael Brophy, vice president of product strategy for Sysgain Inc., the developer of Taggle. Mr. Brophy introduced an “elastic pricing” concept, which, he said, will ultimately mitigate margin loss. The retailer with Taggle controls the entire promotion, messaging, what SKUs are available, description image, quantity the store is willing to sell and at what price. Mr. Brophy said the Taggle application is not limited to the elastic pricing scheme, and can be extended to support a feature similar to eBay’s “Buy it Now” feature, so consumers can purchase on the spot at a designated price.

Without integrating with a POS system, data warehouse, UPC databases, etc., the core offering for Taggle is the piece that sits in the store. Sysgain brings in a wireless infrastructure, or can override the store’s existing one, depending on the type of existing wireless technology. An installed VPN appliance allows secure connectivity back to the Taggle data center where bids are evaluated and sent back to consumers. A back office workstation within the store is necessary for nightly reporting and to create and maintain marketing messaging. Sysgain provides in store signage consistent with each retailers’ style and guidelines.

In November 2007, Sysgain conducted a consumer survey with input from over 2,100 consumers. Those that did haggle had an average 70 percent success rate at saving $50 or more. Nearly 40 percent felt so uncomfortable about the idea of haggling that they never even tried. Sysgain recently finished taking applications from pilot retailers to develop a user base and generate buzz. “Retailers know people are using their phones in the store for purposes that are working against the retailer’s objectives,” said Mr. Brophy. “A lot of people are price shopping other retailers… let’s try to influence their behavior by giving them a network to join once they’re in the store so you can deliver your messaging.”

Discussion questions:  What do you think of the potential for Taggle or other devices promising to bring eBay-like bidding to the brick & mortar level? In what different ways could the application be utilized? What hurdles do you see in the technology’s adoption?

My post: 

My initial reaction after reading the articles is this is a terrible idea.  I can’t imagine wanting to ‘bid’ in a store environment.  However, I think this technology will appeal to the current teen and twenty-something techno-savvy population which tries every application offered on Facebook and on their iPods.  I would be concerned as a retailer to be an early adopter, but it could be something interesting to pilot in an environment like Best Buy (technology is already assumed in the experience) or Urban Outfitters (concentration of ‘cool’ young shoppers).  Taggle should offer to install the technology with a high-profile retailer in a few doors as a pilot – at no or low cost – and test the waters.

The message:  don’t be too quick to judge a new technology innovation, but be prudent in how it is tested.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist

Go to the full discussion at


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