Manuel Montero and Edith Jiménez are two engineers from Querétaro, México, who for about a year have been working on the design of a digital platform for price comparison of thousands of products in four different countries.
In the middle of the situation, they considered that it would be great to have a site that in a matter of seconds found the cheapest price. Having said that, she and Manuel set to work. That’s how Lowpi.com came about, a tool that already operates in Mexico, the United States, Spain and Argentina.
With more than 10 million registered products, the platform is updated daily and is used by about 100 thousand users per month. Lowpi.com uses an algorithm similar to Google’s to search for pages within the Internet and filter data to present it to the user.
Overnight Manuel and Edith went from being spouses to partners. He is a systems engineer and she is an industrial engineer, both graduated from the Instituto Tecnológico de Querétaro.
They both work for a transnational company in the aeronautical sector, which established itself in the state more than ten years ago. In the company Manuel is in charge of the software development and Edith is in charge of the maintenance of certain products.
“The schedule in the company is 8 hours, plus transportation time, it’s like 10 hours what we dedicate to work, but there are also friends, the two families. We like to exercise, swim and go to the gym,” he says.
“What we did was establish a work plan. At least 10 hours a week we are 100% dedicated to this project. We came home from work, prepared our breakfast the next day, and sat down at the computer,” explains Edith.
“When we had the minimum for our page we gave them to several friends to tell us what they liked and what not, if it was useful or not, and we saw that it was. We fine-tuned some details and got it going,” explains Manuel.
Any user, with a few clicks, can make use of Lowpi.com The platform is available in web page and has application for Android devices, and soon it will be possible to use it also in iOS.
The portal has a search box that shows which are the possible products to search, and then displays the results found in all registered stores.
“We simply show users the items they can purchase, and they choose the one they want. This empowers the end user to decide where to buy, and best of all, the purchases are within the user’s budget,” say the creators of Lowpi.com.
Manuel and Edith have found several surprises doing this project. For example, 60% of those who visit the site on a monthly basis are men, 40% women.
Its main market is located in people whose ages range between 25 and 34 years, while what is most sought after are cell phones, televisions, headphones, living rooms, dining rooms and a pillow of a very famous brand.
Manuel and Edith already exported the Lowpi.com structure to other countries. The engineers made a platform with the same concept for the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, Spain and also for the Latin American market.
“Another thing is that before there were not so many portals to buy online. Now all the department stores have their own portal, and in addition, stores from other countries have come to it,” he says.
Low my price!
Within the competitive advantages that Lowpi has, there is a page free of ads that is also supported by a database that can be expanded to many servers, depending on user demand.
“We had to select a very good database to handle all the information available,” explains Manuel .
The creator of the concept explains that although there are similar portals, they only show two or three pages, due to advertising agreements established with them.
“What we wanted to do with Lowpi is, first, to have no ads. We decided to put all the stores on an equal footing, and even if some of them pay us to offer their products, we’re going to give them the same level as all the other stores. The one who decides is the user,” he says.
The initial name of Lowpi was “Low my price”, although after presenting the first draft of the project the founders realized that several people had trouble learning the name, so they chose to look for a shorter, sticky and easy to learn word.
Both Manuel and Edith agree that in Mexico there are conditions for doing business.
“More for all the technological changes there have been”, says Manuel . “Before you needed a lot of people to create your own company and to keep it going; now we see that between two people we can raise a service that can serve many people,” he says.
Add that with e-commerce, there is much opportunity for growth throughout Latin America, where Mexico ranks second in online shopping, just below Brazil.
“There are conditions, but it requires much perseverance and constancy. If people are left with a good idea and don’t follow through with it, it’s very difficult for you to make something happen. It requires commitment and being very organized,” he concludes.