Is Online Shopping Cheaper? Not Always.

Created in Arlington, the BasketSavings app finds discounts at local stores.

When Neil Kataria realized that he and his wife, Lynn, were spending $450 per week online on baby supplies and household goods, he knew there had to be a smarter way to shop. “I became obsessed,” says the data-driven dad of three. “So I took my receipts to local stores in Arlington and compared prices for the 20 or so products that we [had been ordering]. I found that by shopping local we could save $145 a week.”

To confirm that his findings weren’t anomalous, he rounded up some willing neighbors in Lyon Village who were open to having their delivery-box receipts analyzed. “In the end, we found that every single family could have saved 25 to 40 percent shopping at local stores,” he says.

The next step was a no-brainer for Kataria, who had already built and sold other successful tech startups. He partnered with fellow entrepreneur Andy Ellwood (an early Waze employee) to launch Basket Savings, a smart-shopping app that allows users to view and compare online prices with prices at brick-and-mortar stores like Harris Teeter, Safeway, Giant, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, BJ’s and Costco.

Now 400,000 users strong, Basket uses crowdsourcing and retailer data to provide up-to-the minute pricing and product availability. Users can create multiple shopping lists—from weekly groceries and party supplies to Thanksgiving dinners—and share their lists with friends and family. The app tracks sales and bulk discounts, and allows users to sort retailers by distance, price and convenience (also factoring in whether the user is open to visiting multiple stores). “We can even give you in-store details, like which aisle to go to,” says Kataria. “We’re doing everything we can to reduce the barrier to shopping local and get shoppers to save money by trying something new.”

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