Jesse Spaulding’s ShopFerret

“Where I’d be excited to see ShopFerret go is…”

Something I never got to blogging but which was in the local newspaper last week was an article on Hobart based Jesse Spaulding’s price comparison site ShopFerret. This is the generic version of something I’ve been thinking a lot about from the angle of localisation and mobile technologies.

Where I’d be excited to see ShopFerret go is down the innovative track of providing content on a city by city basis as well as providing that content on my mobile phone. For instance I’m not particularly eBay-ish by nature so I don’t really need to catch the price of things outside of Hobart. The scenario runs:

OK I’ve got a birthday I haven’t planned for (or its Christmas shopping time) and I want price comparisons on the ground for something (hey what about iPods or let’s make it more realistic - size 7 Brookes runners). I can’t heave my desktop around the city and I don’t particularly have the wi-fi want-to-shop thing going even if it was available. What I’d like is that killer mobile application where I can put in simple search terms for my local metropolitan shopping area and get 4 or 5 comparisons. Wouldn’t that rock.

And I know what you’re thinking about data and costs but considering it would take me half the day to locate and find those 4 prices even in Hobart I think a few bucks there would be worth it easily.

Maybe I’m way off the mark here and nobody in the whole world would go for such an idea but you just never know. I think there’s big opportunity if someone like Jesse wants to push into the mobile access killer application direction with ShopFerret. I’m not talking exclusive desktop OR mobile - I mean both.

Comparison shopping at the next level could then quite easily be rolled out to city after city. After all working off location is nothing new. If a restaurant can offer specials to passers-by via their mobile messaging service then this one wouldn’t be that hard.

Think local and then take it global. I should note that somebody in the world must have either done this one or is working on it right now so its probably not that original an idea.

Note: ShopFerret is a table layout with a lot of validation errors for HTML 4.01 Transitional and CSS errors. Redeveloping with web standards methodologies is something I’d highly recommend to them at this stage.

2 Responses to “Jesse Spaulding’s ShopFerret”

  1. Jesse Spaulding Says:

    Hello,

    Just came across your blog when searching for my site! I like your post. I think you are right that is the killer application.

    The problem is getting the data. Ultimately if we could sync with retailer inventory systems it would be possible. Otherwise we’ve got to hire people to run around town and check prices!

    Why do you say our site has a lot of validation errors? Did you check this somewhere?

    Jesse

  2. nortypig Says:

    Hi Jesse
    Yes I’ve wondered myself how this could be achieved. It would be great to be able to hook right into the shops Point of Sale systems and inventory but they’re probably going to be competitively suspicious of being taken advantage of I’d suspect. The hard part would be the business negotiations and trust building to get into that level of venture with them. But its only an idea at the moment, maybe what I see as the next step in ShopFerret going mobile and making that killer application. Maybe the time will be riper in 12 months and as the retailers get more savvy to the potential mobile market.

    Mmm your site checked by the W3C Validator as having 92 errors for HTML 4.01 Transitional and about a dozen errors in your CSS files. There are a lot of missing Alt attributes on images which make the site fail Priority 1 WCAG 1.0 Guidelines.

    A lot of these are probably the software solution you’re using though… there still aren’t a lot of good e-commerce packages out there throwing out good code.

    I wonder how the mobile thing would go if it were marketed at the up and coming click and go generation. What do they want to buy? Maybe start small and roll out into several general lines.

    K i have to run. Cheers Jesse and stay in touch as I’m interested in what you’re up to. Hobart is a small place.

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