Snoop. A recession ready robot.

There are many startups postponing launches, but not the money saving app Snoop. With many of us getting anxious about our finances Snoop was gently introduced two weeks ago.

The app takes advantage of the disruptive potential of ‘open banking’ to review your spending and provide personalised money management tips. With a bit of artificial intelligence it looks at past purchases for saving opportunities and will anticipate future payments for better budgeting.

The clever thing about Snoop is how it confronts users with the reality of their spending behaviour. Past payments to companies are added up and packaged with sage comments to deliver some surprises that are difficult to ignore.

In business model terms Snoop has two helpful advantages vs established comparison sites. Firstly, it can identify a much wider menu of saving opportunities and secondly it can deliver powerful personal prompts for user action. It is early days but Snoop already leverages these advantages well with a smooth set-up and engaging suggestions.

Snoop is therefore a challenge to comparison site brands which need to wait for consumers to find the motivation to visit for savings on a specific product / service. Once set-up Snoop doesn’t wait – it proactively engages and directs you to opportunities based on wherever you are spending your money.

Comparison sites are used by about 11 million people in the UK. Compare the Market (above) now offers automated alerts for ‘switch and save’ opportunities for core categories.

How Snoop makes money is a burning business model question. This wasn’t clear from using the app but the intent is shared on the website. Like comparison sites, it includes taking payments when a user switches to a new provider. Much more interesting, however, is the idea of asking users for a discretionary ‘tip’ for a big saving – which if viable would strongly support Snoop’s unbiased consumer champion credibility. The Guardian newspaper’s use of donations and subscriptions is a positive precedent for this.  

Whatever the revenue model Snoop success will depend on turning triggered interest into action. The potential to achieve this is evident, but it is early days and there are gaps to be closed. For example, having been hooked with the news that 90% of Sky customers were paying less than me I wasn’t able to review alternatives.

The package of spend presentation and observations / questions can give an effective nudge.

Snoop appears to be a timely and winning proposition. It will face a response from comparison sites that have established high brand recognition, registered many customers and now offer automated ‘switch and save’ alerts. However, without an open banking linked application they cannot match the breadth of saving opportunities or personalised engagement Snoop can deliver.

In these agile times speed matters as much as business model or proposition. Snoop’s experienced team look very aware of this and have just secured funding to start growing awareness and trial.

The prospects for this consumer and recession friendly robot look very good.

p.s. the robot featured in this post’s headline image is the remarkable Misty II and I suspect one source of inspiration for Snoop’s logo / character. You can find out more by visiting:

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