Retrevo … can it be social ?
Retrevo seems to be a great application for helping shoppers pick consumer electronic goods on the web. I happened to see a live demo of Retrevo in action from Robb Lewis, the VP of Product at Retrevo. He described Retrevo a hybrid of a Search Engine and a Review Site. Traditionally when you buy a product, say a camera, some of the steps you might see yourself following are :
- Search for Camera’s online.
- Select a Camera from the list.
- Check out the Feature List.
- If you like it proceed further, else go back to Step 2.
- Search a Review for the Selected Camera.
- If you like the review you proceed further, else back to Step 2.
- Search for Prices
- If you find a good price in your budget, you buy it either online or from a store.
You might not even need all the steps if you are buying something you are pretty well aware off. However, if you happen to buy a gift and only have a vague knowledge about it, Retrevo might come to your rescue. All you need to know is your budget and the product to buy.
In his demo, Robb decided to buy a digital camera for his sister. He followed the following steps
- Search for Digital Camera.
- Select a Price Range. (shortlisted based on Step1)
- Selected a Brand. (shortlisted based on Step2)
- Select Features. (shortlisted based on Step3)
It then displayed all the cameras that met the criterion of the filters. It also gave an overall community feedback apart from fact that it tells you if the price of the camera is really worth the feature set. This is definitely some valuable information for a shopper.
Robb also mentioned that they run their own crawlers to get the most relevant review of the products from the web and that their is a lot of technology working in the background. The other things that they are looking at is the ability to integrate/add deals for the products.
I feel Retrevo could greatly benefit with a social component. A service like Retrevo where creating an account is not mandatory, would benefit a lot by integrating with Facebook Connect and similar service from Myspace and other social networks. A lot of users do not mind using their existing social newtorking authentication to use Retrevo or similar services.
The integartion with a social networks’s social graph will definitely drive more interest towards the service. Facebook Connect allows the user to move his social data to an external site and reversely allows them to publish any activity they do on the external site (Retrevo here) back on to their news feeds. It’s fairly common to see people update their status talking about their latest cool toy or activity. I am sure the ability to have a feed being published from Retrevo onto their facebook profile will save them the ‘Status’ field to be used for some other message.
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