Web Site Aims To Simplify Electronics Shopping
The revamped site, still in beta, will feature overall value and "community" ratings for each product based on professional and user reviews. Started in 2005, Retrevo aims to simplify consumer electronics shopping by centralizing product reviews, manuals, price comparisons, and links to online retailers.
Retrevo CEO Vipin Jain says consumers are overwhelmed with information online about gadgets, scattered among shopping sites, techie blogs, and expert reviews. "There is no easy way for consumers to get the gist of a product easily," Jain says. "You need to have the product information and technology know-how aggregated and synthesized for you."
With 40,000 new consumer electronics products coming out each year, there's no way anyone can possibly keep up, he adds. To that end, Retrevo's new site offers a range of features to eliminate the daunting complexity of buying a digital camera or a flat-screen TV for non-techies.
A pair of ratings is assigned to each product based on its value and overall quality, as derived from an analysis by Retrevo of thousands of expert and user reviews from other sites. So a product's value is rated as "good," "fair," or "high-priced," while its "community" rating can be positive, neutral or negative.
Someone searching on a broad category such as laser printers would be able to narrow their choices by low-end, mid-range and high-end products. Those categories could be narrowed again by particular brands and features until a shopper finds what they're looking for. A "How To" tab features trouble-shooting tips and instructions for a particular consumer electronics category.
Searching by a specific product such as a Sony Cyber-shot camera will bring up separate tabs for reviews and articles from publications, forums and blogs, and manufacturer sites. It also offers links to "daily deals" and retail sites.
So far, Retrevo makes money mainly by taking a piece of e-commerce transactions coming through its site. But it's also running Google AdSense ads, and plans to add prominent display ads on the right side of screens beginning in the first quarter of 2008.
Consumer electronics has traditionally been one of the strongest sources of online advertising. Jain says Retrevo is also in talks with the major Internet portals to develop a co-branded consumer electronics shopping site. "Nobody does a good job yet of helping you from start to finish and simplifying the process for you," he says.