Even with all the money spent on e-commerce technologies and promise of big data, the shopper experience is still very broken in one fundamental way: it’s still too much about what the retailer has to sell, and not enough about what the shopper wants to buy. Let me give you a few use cases from my personal shopping experience just this past holiday shopping season.

Inventory availability

I wanted to buy my parents and in-laws iPads for Christmas. Being this was for family and I’m a cheapskate, I wanted to buy refurbished iPads from Apple’s online store. Given this was the holiday season, refurbished iPad inventory was especially low and the models I wanted were not available. So I had to check Apple’s refurbished store 3 to 4 times a day to try my luck. Luckily the models I wanted became available before I had to leave for the holiday trip. The inventory for both models ran out quickly within the hour, so I could have very well missed the opportunity, and I may have missed some opportunities during the times I did not actively check the Apple store.

It would be great if I can tell Apple what iPad models I want and Apple just automatically ship the iPads to me when inventory becomes available.

Auction / classified availability

I am an audiophile. I buy and sell used audio equipment whenever the upgrade bug bites me. I’m a big fan of the audiophile auction and classified site Audiogon. Being this is auction and classified, what is available to buy at any time is completely by chance. As an educated shopper, I’m usually very specific about what I want and am willing to wait for it. In the most recent case, I was interested in buying a Gallo Acoustics TR3 subwoofer but no one was selling. So once again, I had to check the Audiogon site and repeat my search every day or two for new listings. A painful experience.

It would be great if I could tell Audiogon what equipment I am looking for, including manufacturer, model, vintage, and possibly even price and location of the seller. Audiogon can send me an email or text message when new listings that match my criteria become available.

Price availability

I love Amazon. It is now my default shopping destination. I usually try Amazon first and 8 out of 10 times I end up buying from Amazon. Amazon is great if you absolutely have to buy something now, but not so great if you are in I-can-wait bargain-hunting mode. For example, I have been drooling over a 3TB Thunderbolt drive, but there is no way I am paying $300 for one. I will not buy until the price drops below $150. In the mean time, Amazon sends me email every day telling me great deals on stuff I don’t care about, stuff that is too expensive, or worse yet, stuff I already bought elsewhere.

It would be great if I can tell Amazon what product I would like to buy, with what key features, from which manufacturers, and most importantly at what price. When items with the right price comes up, send me an email or text messages with one-click check out.

E-commerce sites, Openprise can help!

If you operate an e-commerce site, whether B2C or B2B, and you want to let your customers define rules on what they want to buy and automate notification or even one-click checkout when the rules are triggered, Openprise can help. Contact us and we can show you how to create a more shopper-centric e-commerce experience.

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