Friday, 28th July 2006
Debut: Meta Search Shopping + Preemptive Search Service: ShopEasier.com
If you like your home pages crisp and low impact, you're going to love ShopEasier.com. It's just a search box. More documentation is to come but keeping it simple and allowing the technology to do the work is what ShopEasier seems to be about.
What makes ShopEasier different than other shopping engines?
1) Use of the SurfWax LookAhead technology. See results (in this case product listings) as you type. We've written about the use of LookAhead and its availability to any webmaster several times.
Here are two examples 1 ||| 2 that will provide you not only with some background but more examples.
Dynamic, pre-emptive searching is a trend we've seen growing during the past couple of years. What makes LookAhead a bit different is that unlike "suggestion" services, ShopEasier takes you directly to the product listing AND not to a results page where those terms are simply mentioned.
2) The other important feature of ShopEasier is that it allows you to quickly check product pricing from 5 well-known online databases:
Here's an example:
As we enter T-R-E-O a number of Palm Treo products appear. Remember, ShopEasier in its very early stages and more product listings are being added all of the time.
As the dynamically generated box of products appears and begins to focus if/when you enter more letters, "hits" appear in the box. Now, simply select the product and the merchant of your choice and off you go to the specific product entry. Not to just a search results page where you have to find the result.
Our only complaint is that after selecting a merchant you need to go back and "re" find the product if you want to compare with another merchants. I'm sure this is an issue that can be easily corrected. (-:
Finally, what also makes ShopEasier valuable is that you DO NOT need to enter the product name in any specific order. ShopEasier "rotates" keywords so product listings appear no matter what order you enter them in. Not only can ShopEasier be used as a tool to help you compare prices but it also can serve as product discovery tool, helping you discover products and suppliers that you might normally miss.
Again, LookAhead is all about saving the time of the user. A very good thing in our opinion. Yes, it's different but who says the way things are today is the way it has to be.
Postscript: Librarians might be interested to see LookAhead technology (what powers ShopEasier) demonstrated with an OPAC. Here's one example from a library system in suburban Chicago.