A Free Option for Online Dealers
Retailers with an online store know that merchandising is a tricky business, especially when you are trying to match the right customer with the right product -- there just isn’t enough real estate. And the lack of a live sales person to lead the customer to the right product could mean that you lose a sale.
To answer this problem, several brick-and-click CE retailers -- including Circuit City, CompUSA and J&R -- turned to a company called Guidester. At first Guidester was like many other back-end enterprise software company, offering its services to manufacturers and retailers at a price. But a year and a half ago the company switched to paid search model, which is free for retailers.
How it works: Guidester allows consumers to pare down a list of available products based on questions they answer that qualify their needs, price sensitivities, skill level, etc. For example, in a search of digital cameras on CompUSA’s Web site (the URL is actually a Guidester page), the selection of “I am an advanced (SLR) user” and “I prefer to buy the best technology” reduces a list of 164 digital cameras down to ten. Once a product is selected the user is taken back to the CompUSA online store for purchase (For an example see: www.compusa.com/common/products/guidester.asp).