View Full Version : Online shopping
3rd Jan 2004, 06:48 pm
I have just bought a microwave oven. A Comet store was the best local place to see a range of models and the Comet website had good product details, unlike their staff. For my selected model Comet offered a store price of £119.99 and an online price of £118.99 (with free delivery). Stupid. So I went to Dealtime and Kelkoo and found the cheapest price was £102.00 (including delivery) from Great Saves (http://www.greatsaves.co.uk). I think Dealtime is less irritating than Kelkoo and has better product information. Customer rating of stores is also useful (eg in warning folk off Empire Direct).
I'd like to know what sort of search engine marketing Kelkoo do to achieve such consistently high placing in product searches. I can see that they pay for sponsored links but how do they get other sites to link to them?
3rd Jan 2004, 08:44 pm
Kelkoo were named in a recent BBC article on "most influential" websites (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3356903.stm). I have to admit to knowing the name but not really the service, so I checked it out this morning. Software, especially that by big companies such as Macromedia and Adobe, seems to have a fairly fixed price. The site did nothing for me in terms of design.
I've recently started subscribing to the High Rankings (http://www.highrankings.com) newsletter, and it's quite interesting. Seems Google have recently changed their search algorithm and havoc has ensued. I've copied the article from the latest mail out (http://www.websitearchitecture.co.uk/storr/forumimgs/searchenginearticle.txt) in case anyone is interested.
There is also apparently proof that sites/services listed on Google's new Froogle (http://froogle.google.com/) service have seen mysterious jumps in positions, something that Google don't seem to want to comment about.
4th Jan 2004, 05:09 pm
Amazon did well on Google before Froogle was invented (and Froogle has not taken off, yet). I used to think there was an under-the-counter deal between Amazon and Google but there are things which can be done to make dynamic pages search engine friendly. See Searchenginewatch.com (http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2161081).
Re software prices in Dealtime and Kelkoo, I guess this is just (illegal) price-fixing by the suppliers. The variation in camera prices is amazing: one should never buy an item with using a price comparison service first.
Unless the article was written by a historian I can't see why the BBC list Napster as an influential site. An interesting point is that Napster has become a terrible headache for their purchaser. Bertlesman thought they were buying a famous and much-loved brand - in fact they bought a mountain of liability to litigation. This raises the possibility that the value of brands might not live on the web as it does on supermarket shelves.
4th Jan 2004, 05:52 pm
I know what you mean about Napster, I wonder if they just mean that it was the first site to bring file sharing to the mainstream. Its problems indeed made it a nightmare for BMG. I see Napster is back and has relaunched as a legititmate operation now (99c per track), but while it was away, Apple's iTunes has become the leader in legit mp3 downloading. A lesson learned I think!
4th Jan 2004, 06:16 pm
Yes indeed. But the larger issue is that of branding on the web. Google will be the test case. Can they survive because they are so well-loved, so rich and so famous? Or will Microsoft's 'shedful of brainiacs' be able to produce a better engine, build it into Longhorn and kill off Google as surely they did Netscape? Its curious that the BMG CD-sales website and Napster do not mention each other. I think this is called spreading one's bets.
4th Jan 2004, 07:16 pm
Walmart are planning a music service in 2004 (http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20040101.html). Whilst it probably won't affect us (although they do own Asda), they are such a massive organisation in the States that it could get interesting.
Apart from iTunes, which is now also available for Windows:
Apple seem to have, for the moment, got this area for themselves. BuyMusic (http://www.buymusic.com) started up in July, but seem to be stuck somewhere in the 1990s (http://www.websitearchitecture.co.uk/storr/forumimgs/buymusic.jpg). Maybe that's why you haven't heard of them.
I've always said that the record industry were getting steamed up over sites like Napster when they should be more concerned with the fact that virtually every new home computer these days comes with a CD burner and the pre-requisite software already installed. It takes about 10 minutes to burn an entire album, but for those not blessed with broadband, it takes about 15 minutes to download an individual song.
Napster isn't influential anymore. What Napster stands for (illegal downloading of copywrited product) is still influential, however. Maybe it's a bit like the Hoover/vacuum cleaner thing.
I keep meaning to go through the sites mentioned in the Webonomics book to see if they are still there; it will be interesting to see if they still are. In terms of that book and search engines, Google isn't listed but there are several previously large ones such as Inktomi and AltaVista that are. These days, everything is Google. Alltheweb (http://www.alltheweb.com) seems to be quite popular, but we'll have to wait and see if the rumoured Microsoft and Google talks (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&c2coff=1&q=microsoft+google+talks&btnG=Google+Search) come to anything.
5th Jan 2004, 08:35 am
Inktomi now belongs to Yahoo, who wish to break their dependence on Google. I don't think you can use iTunes without a US bank account. As you say, if Walmart is going to take on Apple they are likely to win. Walmart is the largest and most influential company in the world. Managers have to get personal permission from Bentonville before they can raise the price of an item. They own ASDA and a German equivalent but they find Europe a puzzling place because of its regulations. Its likely that someone will set up an affiliate-type arrangement so that any website owner can earn a few cents on music sales, as they do on Amazon books. Amazon also plan, or have, an iTunes type service.
6th Jan 2004, 11:10 pm
You can use iTunes as a player/burner with no problems (the screenshot above is from my PC), but you can't get your hands on those nice exclusive tracks just yet. The message when you try to use the iTunes music store is "The iTunes music store isn't available in your country yet. You will be able to browse music and listen to previews, but you won't be able to purchase music unless your billing address is in the United States". It sounds like the service will come eventually.
Amazon haven't got an iTunes type service yet, but last year hmv.com, which was in fact Canadian as opposed to American, merged with Amazon.ca. If you go to hmv.com (http://www.hmv.com), you'll see a "HMV teamed with Amazon.ca" logo in a similar way that Waterstones (http://www.waterstones.co.uk) over here merged with Amazon. Maybe both brands weren't too strong over in Canada or maybe this is how Amazon might operate its music service in the future, by utilising large music companies such as HMV?
I only really know about Walmart through their censorship practices. Take Sheryl Crow who on her second album released a track called Love Is A Good Thing (http://www.sherylcrow.com/disco.html) that contains the lines:
Watch out sister, watch out brother,
Watch our children while they kill each other
With a gun they bought at Walmart discount stores
Walmart objected (which is strange as they sell guns) and, as Sheryl refused to change the lyric, banned the album from all stores. Which shows more bottle than rock acts such as Nirvana (who changed the song title Rape Me to Waif Me and the back sleeve to their In Utero album) and Metallica (who included no 'potty mouth' in their Load and Reload albums) just so Walmart would stock them. So much for rock being anti-establishment... In fact, Walmart refuse to stock any albums which are stickered with parental advisory notices (http://www.pbs.org/itvs/storewars/stores3_2.html). I think they also ban most 'lads mags' (things like FHM and Maxim).
Comedy genius (and I mean that) Bill Hicks (http://www.billhicks.com) had it right about guns in America. On his Relentless album he makes a comparison between gun crime in the UK and America (http://www.meish.org/archives/20001115_charlton_heston_has_got_a.php) (strong language), which about sums it up for me. Hicks was a genius, and incredibly anti Bush senior. His albums are worth hearing as they document Iraq War 1, the LA Riots, the Bush Senior presidency, drugs, alcohol, religion, global power struggles and the occaisonal mention of the Tory government. He died of cancer and will be missed - I often wonder what he'd make of these times. :(
7th Jan 2004, 08:05 am
Though opposed to censorship by the state I am sympathetic to Walmart's approach. Sam Walton saw himself as a family man running a family store with family values - those of his customers. Its worth reading about his Ten Rules for Success (http://www.refresher.com/!walton)and about The Squiggly (http://www.fortune.com/fortune/articles/0,15114,369544,00.html). Then have a look at the 'cheap and cheerful' Walmart Website (http://www.fortune.com/fortune/articles/0,15114,369544,00.html). It gets a five star rating from Bargain Shopping Mall (http://bargainshopmall.com/walmart2.htm). Walmart offer a Lindows computer for $199 (=£109 in Jan 2004) and Walmart undercut Amazon.com by 9% on the price of Jacob's Bible.eOpinions Price Comparison (http://www.epinions.com/book_mu-3324680). Another interesting point is that when the first Walmart eStore was seen to be failing they just switched it off and junked it without waiting until they had a replacement Computerworld (http://www.computerworld.com/industrytopics/retail/story/0,10801,52108,00.html). Then Walmart bought a company which had a decent site up and running. All these things have made Walmart the most feared and most admired retailer. Keep your eye on the Asda Website (http://www.asda.co.uk/). Its pretty bland just now but those buttons at the top look Walmarty to me!
So what are people shopping for on the web? See Shopping.com's (formerly Dealtime)
Consumer Demand Index (http://www.shopping.com/cdi). [Webpage design for busy commercial sites can't get much plainer than http://www.shopping.com/].
8th Jan 2004, 03:15 pm
Francis - I'm in agreement with Tom on Walmart's 'ethical' censorship policies. It takes more bottle to take a stand than it does to tear someone down for believing in something
25th Mar 2004, 09:56 pm
Walmart have done it (http://musicdownloads.walmart.com/). 11 cents cheaper than iTunes as well. The choice of music on the homepage isn't as diverse as you get when opening up the iTunes store. iTunes currently has a fair few indie/up-and-coming artists and even some Bach - Walmart are very much going for the MTV crowd with a sprinkling of country. Interestingly, it's PC only (no Mac or Linux) and no iPods at all.
26th Mar 2004, 02:58 pm
Kelkoo has been bought by Yahoo for £320 million (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3570775.stm). Whoever founded Kelkoo has made an absolute fortune. I hope to do so with my web thesis project.
27th Mar 2004, 05:43 pm
As I recall, Kelkoo was started by a couple of Frenchman. It has got good market penetration which, I suppose, is what Yahoo want. But I find it irritating because they are always trying to trick me into thinking they have a product which they don't have.
I am delighted that you are considering a money-making idea for your web thesis project!
Powered by vBulletin™ Version 4.0.7 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.