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BrowseGoods.com is a new site from US startup Dotted Pair, which aims to create a visual shopping experience. The site was launched in beta last week.
Rather than displaying the first ten product listings, and asking the user to click 'next' to see the rest, BrowseGoods attempts to recreate the in-store shopping experience by freely allowing you to browse hundreds of items at once.
The site uses a Google Maps-style user interface which lets users intuitively browse through a large catalogue of products by zooming in and out, and panning around to see items of interest. It looks like a floor plan of a department store. An interesting idea.
For instance, if you are looking for a pair of men's shoes, you can go to the shoes section of the site, then zoom in on sub-categories, such as 'work shoes' or 'lace ups' and, at any point, you can select the product you're interested in and see more details.
BrowseGoods currently makes its money as an Amazon affiliate, though other revenue ideas are brewing, including sponsored placements, allowing merchants to boost the visibility of their products, on a pay-per-click basis.
E-commerce sites are often optimised to direct shoppers to find a particular item they are searching for, yet BrowseGoods has taken an entirely different approach by encouraging users to just browse until they find what they want.
There are a few problems with the site as it is - it lacks filtering options, which would be useful when looking for shoes in a particular size.
Additionally, the site would benefit from more detailed product information and user reviews, though partly that might be through design or the Amazon API.
BrowseGoods isn't exactly a search engine play, not at this stage, so it remains to be seen how it plans to lure users to its innovative website. We'd also love to know how they react when they get there, and what kind of conversion rate the site generates.
It's all good though, and the BrowseGoods team are right to identify browsing as a key behavioural preference among online shoppers. People love to browse rather than search by keyword, which requires a little more mental energy.
One to keep an eye on...