Mobile
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4/30/2009
03:02 PM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
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Shopping Service Opens Up On Twitter

There is a new account on Twitter that gives you shopping assistance and since Twitter works on your mobile phone, this can be a useful companion when looking for something or when you have a question about a product. You just send @imshopping your question, in 140 characters of course, and it will respond with the information you are looking for.

There is a new account on Twitter that gives you shopping assistance and since Twitter works on your mobile phone, this can be a useful companion when looking for something or when you have a question about a product. You just send @imshopping your question, in 140 characters of course, and it will respond with the information you are looking for.The response is a TinyURL link to a page at IMshopping.com that will give you a longer answer than Twitter would allow. If you are logged in to their site, you can add additional information or respond to other product queries to add to the original answer. The response will be to @YourTwitterID so you simply need to check the Twitter site and click on your @ link that will show you your replies, or use the @replies feature found in most third party Twitter clients.

"We believe human assistance will create a deeper level of e-commerce satisfaction that doesn't exist on the Internet today," says IMshopping CEO and Founder, Prashant Nedungadi. "There is a lot of information out there, but very little help when online shoppers need specific answers that will make or break their purchasing decision. At brick and mortar stores, human experts fill such a void, but on the web, it doesn't exist. We developed IMshopping to bring the same level of personalized assistance to online shoppers. Twitter is the ideal medium for having a conversation; Online shoppers have the option to communicate privately with the expert on Twitter, or publicly so others can benefit from the right choices."

One of the recent questions asked was "What cell phone companies have phones with SIM cards." The answer, AT&T and T-Mobile, shows that this is a US centric site. Other questions posed have been "What is the best way to kill fire ants and keep them from coming back", "Where can I get a good deal on a PowerMac" and "What is a good Mother's Day gift for a 32 year old under $100."

Those questions are difficult to ask a machine, like Google. You are typically overwhelmed with various websites hawking their wares. I've used the Google pricing service via SMS on my phone, but it wasn't of much value beyond that. IMShopping seems to give answers that are at least partially useful and will leave you more informed than you were when you asked the question.

A word of warning though. Their website is not, mobile friendly, or at least it didn't detect my mobile browser on a Windows Mobile 6.1 phone, so there was some side-to-side scrolling and weird formatting. Those with Android or an iPhone will fare better.

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