New CSE widget reviews

May 15, 2007

Digital Marketing ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

In my last post, I highlighted what I thought to be the value and worth of deploying a widget for a CSE.  For this post I want to look at two of the latest widget releases by Shop and Mpire.

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.