Buying something online can be a frustrating process. The shear numbers of websites offering the same product can lead to endless hours of surfing to try to find the right deal. Consumers often become overwhelmed and end up not buying anything at all.
Prashant Nedungadi (see Nedungadi’s personal five-day entrepreneur journal, exclusively for Reuters.com) has been one of those people and decided to use that frustration to launch IMshopping.com, a website that utilizes a combination of software and sales experts to direct buyers to the precise product they’re looking for. What Nedungadi has dubbed “human-assisted shopping” is a network of retail experts, or guides, and the broader community of IMshopping’s more than 30,000 registered users.
IMshopping leverages Twitter to help allow consumers to pose shopping-related questions around the clock.
The Twitter part works by submitting your shopping query to @imshopping, which spits back a response to your Twitter account, usually within 15 minutes, with a link to the answer of your question. Photos of the product and other recommended products may also be included in the response.
Every user who registers on IMshopping automatically has an online profile generated when they either ask or answer a question. Their bio page also includes a numbered ranking, a list of their retail expertise (electronics, automotive, household, cosmetics, etc.) and an archive of all the questions they’ve answered so the questioner has a way to judge how credible they are.