Tag Archives: RSS

ShoppeSimple – Building a New Shopping Experience

30 Jun

No one likes being interrupted, so few people will admit that they like advertising.  It is, by it’s nature, interruptive.  Even in search, you get those annoying “Sponsored Links” running up and down the screen.

But we like brands the brands we like.  We feel a connection with them. We want to know what they’re up to, what they have to say and what they have to offer. And then we’re not being interrupted — we’re interested. We’re paying attention.

I’m working with a client called ShoppeSimple that takes this as its starting point — that advertising works best when people are paying attention.  Today, brands have chosen to put the ShoppeSimple icon on their site.  It sends users to a hub, where they can choose to get offers and updates from their brand in a reader, or to check out deals now and buy.

That’s the starting point. Where is it going? The opportunity we see is to reverse the consumer sales information distribution process — instead of users having to search for a new size 5 summer dress, the brands and product choices come to them, when they decide they want them, and where they want to see them.

The technology core is what we’re calling TransactionalRSS, or TRSS — using RSS to create a new and better shopping experience. What matters here isn’t the technology…it’s the capabilities and experience being created around it.

I’m blogging about about this for the company at shoppesimple.wordpress.com.  I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think.

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6 Jun

As communicators, we should reach people where they are, not where we want them to be. You may want them to visit your website, for example, but if your audience is learning the latest via text message, MyYahoo, Twitter, or the local paper, you’re missing an opportunity.

Which is why I’m surprised at how few corporate websites take advantage of tools like RSS feeds — letting people subscribe to news and updates via easy readers and news aggregators.  Which leads to the question, for the trained skeptic anyway:  how many people really use RSS? The answers are promising and tell me — and to marketers, I hope — “ignore this at your peril.”

Rather than offer exhaustive research (or stats that I have to pay for), here are a couple items for discussion.
First, RSS Diary offers a reference from August 2006:

RSS is currently used or is planned to be used within the next 12 months by 63% of consumer product marketers, 65% media and communications marketers, 37% retail marketers, 37% financial services marketers and 38% equipment and tech marketers.

A good start. I’d suggest that, given the prevalence of encouragements to subscribe, they have.  This survey covers an audience of folks that are serving customers and influencers who want to track news and keep up to date on their industry and market changes.

Next, and more to the point, Robert Scoble addressed this question last fall on the Scobelizer blog. He did some back-of-the-napkin analysis and came up with10 million people using feedreaders; prompting one of his readers to report that FeedBurner says it has more than 65 million subscribers to RSS feeds. But it’s not the numbers that are important, he says, it’s who they are:

…what’s the real power of RSS? The news influencers use it. So, if you want to reach the Paris Hilton crowd you’ve probably gotta go through someone who uses an RSS aggregator. Most of the journalists and almost all of the bloggers I know use RSS.

And that’s what matters to us. RSS is an incredibly simple and useful way to let media, bloggers and customers keep track of your news. RSS makes it easy for others to find and share your news with their networks, via websites, news portals and blogs.

The point here is not that RSS is the end all and be all of communications. The point is that as communicators, we should recognize that our communications should reach people where they are. That’s why websites should make it easy for readers to share content on social bookmarking sites like Digg, Del.icio.us, and others (and for a cool intro to social bookmarking, check out this video). It’s why corporate news rooms should offer RSS feeds, email alerts and mobile alerts as well as prompts for social bookmarking. And it’s why it’s worth trying out social sites like Twitter, which many influencers are using to share and scan for interesting news.

So…how do you want my updates?

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