As a quick clarification, there are two primary types of widgets: desktop and Web-based. A desktop widget typically requires a platform to exist (Yahoo! Widgets, Mac OS X Dashboard, whatever). Web-based widgets live on a Web site — blog, social network, personal page.
Shop’s offering is based solely on the Y! Widgets platform, which must be downloaded before you can even get a peek at the widget. This is a fairly large barrier for people who aren’t Web-savvy or comfortable with downloading / installing programs. Plus, it effectively eliminates Mac users from their potential market since Dashboard is superior to Y! Widgets.
As for functionality, it’s essentially a mini Shop search engine, sortable by department. A click takes you to the product page. Simple as that.
Recommendations: bring the OneCart functionality up into the widget, make adding items to the cart similar to checking boxes and let a user buy something right in the widget itself.
Mpire’s widget offerings are Web-based, and, I believe, the most robust of any shopping widgets I’ve yet seen, especially next to ThisNext’s Shopcast.
Anyone can throw an Mpire widget on their site. What makes them different than a simple mini search engine is a grouping of data that’s dynamic, interesting and sticky. They’ll pull price trends, popular products and top searches.
Clickthroughs, according to Mpire’s CEO, were apparently 5 percent higher than Google AdSense ads. The value to the site owner is that they get to keep 100% of affiliate revenues from Amazon or eBay.
Where Shop is intending to increase entrenchment amongst its current user base, I believe Mpire is focused on a distribution strategy intended to increase exposure.
What do you think — would you use any of these widgets?
Written by Scott Hurff.
Contact me at scott.hurff (at) channeladvisor (dot) com.