At Shop It To Me, we interview people all of the time about their shopping habits, and with the exception of maybe Amazon, there currently really is no one major player among pure shopping search sites.
When someone wants to search for an item or shop for an item, they either shop a number of individual retailers or go to google and do a search. Yes, shopping aggregator sites like Nextag, Shopzilla and Shopping.com get millions of users coming to their site, but for the most part their traffic is derived from some variant of Google search results. Google “black trousers” and I promise you’ll see at least one of theses sites in your search results. They’re awesome at figuring out how to be the top result. But the relationship is really between the user, Google and the end retailer. If Google one day swaps one of these aggregators for another the user doesn’t care, let alone notice.
And while ‘Loyalty’ and “Cash Rebate” sites have people coming directly, the customer’s loyalty is to the rebate — not the actual site. That customer may come now, but they’ll also be the first to leave when a retailer or another competitor has a better rebate or discount.
Shopping queries account for a substantial percentage of all searches, and while we have solutions for “searches for people” (LinkedIn/Facebook), Travel (Kayak), Restaurants (Yelp) and general information (Google) we have no great solution for products.
I believe there is a huge opportunity to build a shopping experience (site, mobile, email) with real loyalty. A site that people will actually access directly as opposed to via the search engine and will give customers real value.
To do this, I believe we need to rethink how shopping sites work altogether. The site that gains people’s long term loyalty will be the one that optimizes the relationship as opposed to just optimizing the transaction. It will be the place you go because it gets you; it knows what you want, what you like, what you crave. It will be the place that looks out for your best interest. Going anywhere else would be a waste of your time and money.
At Shop It To Me, we’re building a next generation platform that I believe can one day realize that vision. We’re not there yet, but we’re on our way and I’m really excited about the progress we have made so far!
And if you want to help us make this a reality, join us!