In another life, I was an actor. The winner of last night’s Oscar for an Actor in a Leading Role, Forest Whitaker, even directed me in one of my first speaking roles in a movie.
With my interest in movies, I figured it was a great opportunity to see what the shopping comparison engines promoted in relation to the styles found on last night’s red carpet and the winning movies. It was not a pretty sight. I went to each site’s homepage and also clicked on the apparel and movie sections. Here’s a quick rundown of the nominees (I didn’t include sites like Glam or Fashion IQ which have great pictures and commentary, but no way to buy):
-PriceGrabber: No mention of the Oscars, although they did launch a new Spring Shopping Guide.
-Shopping.com: No mention of the Oscars.
-Shopzilla.com: No mention of the Oscars.
-Yahoo Shopping: No mention of the Oscars, although they did have a brief entry yesterday promoting Yahoo! Movies on the Yahoo! Shopping Blog.
-Google Base: No mention of the Oscars.
-Nextag: No mention of the Oscars.
-MSN Shopping: Oscar Nominated Films section, but with their editorial content (expert advice), I was really hoping for a fashion forward statement about the Oscars as opposed to Spring Fashion Trends 2007.
-Become: No mention of the Oscars, but a search for ‘movies’ returns The Departed, the winner of Best Picture, as the first result.
-Amazon/Shopbop: No mention of the Oscars.
-TheFind: Mention of ‘Pets on the Red Carpet‘, their spoof on the Oscar red carpet.
-Like.com: Below the fold likeness search suggestions for Jennifer Lopez’s purse, Penelope Cruz’s earrings, and Cameron Diaz’s shoes on the homepage, plus a special section for the Oscars.
-Shopstyle: Sleek, clean, Oscar Night’s Stylebook section highlighting ensembles from last night.
So obviously I like what ShopStyle has presented, but there’s a question as to whether this type of merchandising really makes a difference. I think the answer is YES, but I have a feeling that many of the shopping comparison engines would say it doesn’t matter or at least that editorializing content like you see with ShopStyle is not scalable.
Most of the shopping engines look and feel the same. When the average Joe clicks through on an Adwords ad and then clicks out to a merchant, they have no idea which shopping engine they just used. Specialized editorial sections like Oscar fashion is one way to differentiate the site. And if you don’t have time to do it, team up with someone who does. Or you know, have you heard of that little thing called user generated content (UGC)?
It’s hard for me to effectively make this point when Shopping.com, Shopzilla, PriceGrabber, and NexTag are buzzing along creating nice value for their owners, but this is going to be the year when Google Base really eats into these companies’ businesses and when web 2.0/UGC ‘stuff’ becomes mainstream in the retail space.