Jim Barr, GM of Microsoft Marketplaces

As I mentioned in a recent post, I have a lot of questions about Microsoft’s ecommerce strategy. I hope to get to the bottom of some of those questions over the next couple months. In the meantime, I just wanted to better understand Microsoft’s vision on launching Windows Live Shopping and Windows Live Product Search in addition to maintaining MSN Shopping.

Following is my conversation with Jim Barr, GM for the Microsoft Shopping & Marketplaces team. I basically just asked Jim for an introduction. Thanks to Jim and everyone who helped me set this up…

“We really like the comparison shopping business and think retailers can realize a great ROI, and we want to make sure we have the best comparison shopping experience. We really feel like we have a great product with MSN Shopping.”

“Search is very important. Half of the shopping starts in search. 15-25% of all searches go to a shopping site. MSN search will not win unless we are good at commerce search. That’s a strong reason why we invested.”

“Some might assume we should wait to launch innovative services until we have the end game figured out. The reality is that with the internet, we think we should get good ideas out their that help achieve the needs of online shoppers. At the core, we want to help people find the products they are looking for and then help them confidently decide on the one product from the one retailer that is best for them. In our business, we’ll be successful if we’re 1) driving value for buyers and sellers and 2) growing a vibrant and loyal audience.”

“At present, our core business is MSN Shopping, but we also have 2 very early, very innovative experiences, which we will use to figure out what the best features and experiences are for merchants and consumers.”

“We believe we are at the top of the first in a nine inning game. We don’t have it all figured out and I don’t want [our team] to have to figure out today. We want consumers to tell us what they like best. We don’t have all the answers yet. We don’t know if the audiences [for Windows Live and MSN Shopping] will be the same or different over time. One audience might want a more programmed experience [MSN Shopping] while another audience might want more customization [Windows Live]. Or we could find that one great experience with the best of all the features we’re currently shipping is best. But the point is, you ship innovative stuff as soon as it’s ready and not wait for perfect knowledge about the end-game.”

“MSN Shopping has 40 million items, and we’re always making sure they are the right items. It’s the easiest way to go from a long list of what’s available to a short list of what’s right for you.”

“Windows live shopping is MSN Shopping in Web 2.0 form. We want to see how it’s accepted. The [merchant and product] selection is the same — it’s a different side of the same coin.”

“Windows Live Product Search goes on the presumption that the audience wants to see as much selection as possible. We crawl the web for everything out there. We’re starting with a philosophy that people should be able to search for tail items.”

“Eventually we want to apply as many ways to go from a long list of what’s available to a short list of what’s right for you. We have our goals in mind [to match buyers and sellers] and we want to do what’s right for users.”

Related Posts
My Introduction to MSN Shopping, Windows Live Shopping, and Windows Live Product Search – May 19, 2006
MSN Marketplaces Questions – May 9, 2006
Microsoft Officially Enters the Comparison Shopping Space – July 15, 2005

3 Responses to Jim Barr, GM of Microsoft Marketplaces

  1. […] make this their own!). Split personalities can be a bit confusing. Not sure how this is right for users. Related Posts: […]

  2. […] tween MSN Shopping, Windows Live Shopping and Windows Live Product Search. Shortly after, I interviewed Jim Barr, GM of Microsoft Marketplaces to get a […]

  3. […] Jellyfish – October 2, 2007 Windows Live Shopping Beta Shut Down – Feb 21, 2007 Jim Barr, GM of Microsoft Marketplaces – May 23, 2006 Ecommerce, Microsoft Style – May 19, 2006 MSN Marketplaces – May […]

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