EasyShift takes on GigWalk with new task marketplace

Help make sure retailers are doing what they're supposed to with the products they're selling, and earn a few bucks for your trouble.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

PALOS VERDES, Calif.--Focus. EasyShift has it. This new service, launching today at the D10 conference from Quri, is a crowdsource labor system, most reminiscent of GigWalk, but with a uniquely narrow purpose: it helps consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies make sure their in-store displays and programs are running they way they should.

Users who want to make extra money can accept "shifts" to check that, for example, a baby food display is set up right. The app might ask the user to photograph the product and its display surroundings in a store, count the number of items displayed, and enter the price marked. For this, the user might earn from $2 to perhaps $20; funds are sent to users' PayPal accounts daily.

James Joaquin of Catamount Ventures, one of the backers of Quri, walked me through the app and the business. "Customers are the brands," he was clear to say. CPG companies pay Quri for the privilege of being able to pay consumers to do compliance checking for in-store "trade spend" programs, and to check on other retail-related factors.

Quick way to earn a few bucks. Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

These customers can get a real-time dashboard of how retailers are displaying products, if they're using marketing materials correctly, and what price-points they're using. Joaquin told me that one customer found that a retail program had only 30 percent compliance. The EasyShift app helped them identify which stores were not using the retail materials correctly -- which the CPG company had paid the store chain to use. But the resolution was good for everyone, Joaquin said. "The client was happy; they got a 100 percent refund and ran the program again. And the retailer was happy, too. They can use this product to help train or keep up with their employees. Ultimately, everyone just wants sell-through."

The mobile app is location-aware. It will highlight tasks for users that are nearby. But it's not yet ambient: It won't run in the background and buzz the user when he or she is near a shift. That may come in the future.

EasyShift's closest competitor is GigWalk, which also has a focus on business-to-consumer shift work and spot checks. Other companies in this space include TaskRabbit and Zaarly, but they have large numbers of consumer-to-consumer tasks and don't offer the same hirer's dashbaord that EasyShift does.