Note: Sorry if this old article shows up in your newsreader. I needed to change a few filenames, and my site’s RSS generator might pick up the changes and republish the articles.
It’s gift-buying time. And whether your process involves driving to a local retailer, browsing Amazon, or scouring Craigslist, you’re likely to be inundated with so much choice that you’ll spend most of your time researching to find the best products and deals.
This is always a source of frustration for shoppers, because most of the time people just want a good value: Something with slightly above-average performance and a reasonable price. And even helpful reviews on Amazon or sites like CNET don’t narrow the possibilities down to a manageable two or three.
Caleb and Jordan at Kallow have discovered what I think could be a useful idea - especially at this time of the year: They’ve chosen 22 product categories (like Digital Camera, Headphones, and even Laptop), researched each - taking into account performance, ease of use, and price - and then listed one recommendation for each category.
According to them, if you’re looking for a good deal on a digital camera, you can’t go wrong with the Canon PowerShot SD790IS for $179.99. That’s a good value, and for the vast majority of shoppers who don’t care about 3x versus 4x optical zoom, 8 megapixel versus 10 megapixel, and Canon versus Panasonic, it’s a done deal.
The beauty of Kallow is that it’s either a conclusion or a beginning. That is, you might look at Kallow and immediately decide to buy the recommended product. So it’s the conclusion of your shopping cycle. But some users can use Kallow as the beginning of their shopping cycle by following the product recommendation to Amazon, viewing similar products, and eventually choosing a competitor’s product. The moral of the story is that you’re more likely to find a quality deal by beginning your search with a good product than if you began your search from scratch.
I’m curious to see how the site develops after the holiday season. While cleanliness and simplicity are integral to the site, it goes without saying that more product categories are a must. But beyond that, I think adding a premium level to each category would draw in more of the power-user audience. Properly implemented, such a feature wouldn’t have to detract from the site’s ease of use.
The decision to get prices from and link to Amazon is also something that I think will require revision. It’s not uncommon for buyers to find better prices at smaller shops. If Kallow is really about recommending quality deals and saving consumers time, it should link to the best deal at a reliable online retailer. Of course, this flies in the face of Kallow’s business model (They make money by getting paid every time someone buys one of their recommended products on Amazon.), but I’m sure Jordan and Caleb can think of some other way to stay in the black.
Check out Kallow for yourself, and let me know what you think. Were the recommendations helpful either as conclusions or beginnings? What product categories would you liked to have seen that weren’t available? Did you tell anyone you know about Kallow?