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Home » Consumer, Featured, Social Shopping

Pronto Launches Social Price Comparison – The Good and The Bad

Submitted by on September 12, 2007 – 11:27 am4 Comments

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.

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  • http://www.ecommerceoptimization.com eCopt

    Thanks for the mention and further reporting on Pronto.com’s social features. I learned a lot from your post too and agree with many of your points. I saw the posts on CSE strategies a couple of weeks ago and the mashable post, but this was posted based off the official announcement from Pronto.

    At first I didn’t even notice the screenshot with that price, but later in the day I did notice and did a bit of investigating to see what the deal was. Upon further looking I found that it didn’t appear to be a pricing error on Pronto’s end or the merchants. Rather it was a product classification and categorization issue since the merchant is actually selling a ‘Rushmore’ 4 way speaker for $45,000.00 not the DVD as I had originally searched for.

    See the actual product page:

    http://www.ttvj.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&manufacturers_id=7&products_id=457

    Now I am not sure if those brand speakers are worth $45,000.00 but at least it’s more plausible than a DVD going for that amount. So it appears to be more of a relevancy issue than pricing, in my opinion.

    Other than that, we should keep in mind that Pronto.com is still in Beta and there will be bugs from time to time like in other CSE’s (as you mentioned).

  • http://www.secretprices.com/ Marc Mezzacca

    Thanks for the comment.

    Yeah, I found it interesting that the two products I came across upon hitting the site both had product classification errors.

    Yes, I agree that Pronto is in beta so hopefully these issues will be resolved overtime.

  • http://www.pronto.com John Foley

    Thanks for your post and coverage of Pronto’s new Social Shopping experience. I’m glad you like it and believe in the direction we’re going.

    With respect to the outlying data points and imperfections in our data quality, we’re aggressively addressing these issues and I believe we have one of the best data and search teams on the web tackling this challenge. To be sure, as we’re crawling 65,000 online retailers and categorizing and normalizing 70mm products, it’s a non-trivial exercise to have “perfect” data.

    That said, we know perfection is the bar for the consumers (and this blog ; ) and that is subsequently our bar as well. We are 100% committed to creating the best consumer experience and destination for shopping online.

    Thanks again for your interest and coverage. Please reach out to me directly if you ever want to chat more. I look forward to reading your future posts.

    Cheers,
    John Foley
    President, Pronto.com

  • http://channeladvisor.com Scott Hurff

    Appreciate you citing my posts on Pronto. I really enjoyed getting into the release and brainstorming ways to make it better.

    Talking to John F about the product was cool and they’re always looking for ways to improve the product — so if you have ideas for them, be sure to mention it.

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