Pronto Launches Social Price Comparison – The Good and The Bad
I was just reading over on the E-Commerce Optimization blog about Pronto’s latest social shopping site launch. This not truly new news as it had been written up last month on Mashable, but this was the first time the official word came from Pronto. Let me first say I think they did a good job in integrating some of the community features. Unfortunately, I found something very bothersome before I even reached their site. E-Commerce Optimization had the screen capture shown below:
$45,000 to anyone who can identify what is wrong with the listing above… See it yet? I found myself wondering if the person who took this screen capture was paying attention to the listing. A Rushmore DVD for $45,000? Um, I’m not really sure that price is accurate! I figured it was just a fluke in Pronto’s pricing system. Flukes are still very common in price comparison engines. I’ve seen plenty on the others (Shopping.com, PriceGrabber, etc.). However I’ve never seen one so extreme.
When I clicked “compare prices” I was taken to the product page. There I noticed a “most liked” section to the right of the main product information. I thought “Hey, this is a cool little tidbit.” Then I got to thinking that the information “Marie C. from Boulder, Colorado was the first person to like it” wasn’t all that useful to me. But hey it’s a good start as far as social shopping goes…
Now, I’m not a big Pronto user, but I found it disturbing that again the pricing information seemed skewed. Office Space DVD from $3 to $529? I did some further digging. The low price ($3) was from GreatArrow.com. Never heard of them, but I checked it out anyway. They sell Greeting Cards, no DVDs found on their site. I checked the high price ($529). Turned out to be Office Space by Creatas (Software) from FotoSearch.com. Ugh, that was enough for me.
Ok, enough criticism about the price and product matching. Pronto did some quality community integration work. I saw some similarities to our own My Shopping Facebook application, specifically the short review box, and the “I own it” and “I want it” parts, found in the modal popup that appears when clicking the “Like” button. This makes it easy to share additional information.
I found their Local Liked Products section to be a very innovative idea, and something they could build on in the long-term. As described by Pronto:
“Users can track the hottest trends in their city by searching the most “Liked” products by region.”
Another very important “social shopping” piece that they have included are the Brand and Store Likes:
“Users can express their interest in particular brands and stores in addition to their favorite products, providing other shoppers greater insight into their tastes and style.”
They seem to be off to a great start in the social shopping space. For more information, Scott Wingo has a pair of writeups (Part I / Part II) including Q&A and some tips… worth the read. You can read the official press release here.