An app to tell you the cost of a certain product without the profit part that benefits the seller.
Know how much above the initial cost you have to pay to the seller - helps make decisions when shopping.
Get a better understanding of economy and the dynamics of a certain market field by comparing direct costs of different products from different sellers.
Useful if you want to start producing something.
The background: There are a few synonymous terms describing the initial cost of the product used in economics like "prime cost", "direct cost" and others. The latter is because it's difficult to determine which exact expenses to include in the value of the direct cost since many of them are rather indirectly related. The cost of raw materials used for making the product as well as the cost of labor is always included, but other expenses such as the rent of the production facilities, machinery maintenance, etc. are in a grey area of the direct cost calculation.
However, I think it's fair to include all the expenses related to the production of a certain item that doesn't directly benefit the seller into the "raw" cost, meaning the rent, the maintenance, certain taxes they have to pay, etc.
The process: The user would scan a barcode of a certain product and the app would get the information about it using an online product database. If the user is checking a product online, they would post or link the page URL to the app. The app would then compare the prices of the same product from various sellers if possible find the price from the original producer and determine the lowest available price on the market. The lowest available price together with the seller data would be presented to the user.
Next, the app would calculate and present the raw cost of that product. I think the app could determine the approximate raw cost by acquiring data about a variety of similar products available on the market and the prices for various materials and services required to make them. It would determine what raw materials potentially go into the making of that product, the costs of acquiring those materials in different countries, the approximate cost of labor, and other factors. I know this sounds simple to say but hard to do, but I think an algorithm for this shouldn't be too difficult to make.
Could you suggest ways how the app could determine the raw cost easier?