Mpire, a shopping comparison site which searches for best deals from Amazon, eBay, Yahoo and other sites, has launched an 'experimental' visual shopping site.
Shopwave is the first project from Mpire Labs, which Mpire calls its 'little work area for experimenting with new ideas' , and is a Flash based application for browsing through goods.
Shopwave is merely an experiment at the moment, so Mpire hasn't made its full inventory available for browsing.
According to the Mpire blog:
"Shopwave is an experiment focusing specifically on the use of product images versus text and lists."
"So instead of rows and rows of data, you’ll see multiple rows of product images and scrolling over an image will display more detail and an average price."
The idea of visual shopping is a recognition that shoppers like to browse for items, and don't always have a fixed idea of what it is they want to pay. The use of visual methods of shopping will appeal to those who dislike browsing by keywords and searching through the results. That's most people, that is.
This is not the first site to hit upon the idea - BrowseGoods is a visual shopping site, which was launched in beta last month. Instead of Flash, BrowseGoods designed an interface that allows users to zoom in and out and search through a large range of products.
Mpire launched in 2005, aiming to combine all the best features from eBay, Amazon, Yahoo, and many other online shopping sites. It has raised $10m (£5.2m) so far in Series A and B funding.
Mpire aims to offer its users a single place to shop on the web, combining its search results with relevant coupons, as well as showing historical data which shows how much shoppers should expect to pay for the items they want.
The site currently has around 700,000 unique visitors per month, and makes money every time it sends a lead from the site to an online merchant.
With Mpire's willingness to experiment with different ideas, and cater for different shopping styles, this site is one to keep an eye on.