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Co-browsing and ecommerce

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Tuesday January 2, 2007 )

Here’s a neat idea that we may see make its debut in 2007 – co-browsing in online shopping.

Co-browsing in an ecommerce environment is really just an extension of existing online collaboration technology enabling a shopper to invite others via email or IM to join them in an online store. The invited parties can then interact with the same products as the person who invited them; it’s essentially a multi-user cart session.

I can certainly see this being a useful feature; often I communicate via IM with work colleagues or family about purchases and it’s back and forth with URL’s etc as we debate aspects about products; all gets rather confusing.

Another really interesting trend that we’ll definitely see more of in the year ahead, is consumer tagging. As an example, a USA online store may sell sweaters and term them as such throughout their site. An Australian consumer is more likely to call these products “jumpers” and may add that as a tag to a saved search while on the site. Other shoppers arriving on the site can then see a list of tags being used by other online shoppers. Aside from the convenience to shoppers, it’s a great tool for online businesses with benefits extending far beyond the tag itself.

When optimizing for search engines such as Google, we can be a little blinkered as to how we think potential customers would structure a search query for our products. We might focus totally on a particular term that’s way off target, because that’s what the tools we have indicate we should do. Through the use of consumer driven tagging, marketers can gain a clearer understanding of how people may refer to a product and then adapt their copy to suit.

Web 2.0 technology – ain’t it grand :).

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