This morning we launched a brand new Retrevo (project name "Retrevolution"). This was a project we undertook in second half of last year, went through extensive consumer behavior analysis in the real-world, brainstorming, arguing, thinking about the information architecture, designing...throwing designs out the window...redoing them, prioritizing, sweating (don't think it was easy work :)) and focusing on the core pieces that would make electronics shopping simple and fun for the masses - that's you and me. We had made good progress in last couple of years but what we built was not good enough. Don't take me wrong, we introduced significant innovation when we launched our first beta in the fall of 2006, followed by deeper information classification and product advisor (with Retrevo's unique value assessment of electronics products) in 2007, and then Retrevo's Real-time Pulse in 2008 but we always felt that Retrevo site was dense and not fun to use.
Well, this is one step in the direction of bringing simplicity and fun in electronics shopping. I have no doubt that much more can be done but one has to start somewhere. The Ultimate Marketplace we launched with the new look and feel has 3 significant innovations worth mentioning:
- Product discovery: we wanted to provide an environment where users could come, sit back, relax and browse/discover interesting products at their own pace. No expectations, no pressure, just browse through our new catalogs (HDTVs, Digital Cameras and Laptops at launch time), find interesting products and if you are not ready to browse products, consume content contributed by passionate users & experts from all walks of life to understand how technology can enrich your busy life or participate in discussions with people like yourself (shopping is lot more fun when done together with friends - offline or online).
- Product evaluation: how do you evaluate and decide if a product is a good one to buy or not. This is a problem that overwhelms even the savviest consumers. We took up the challenge and created Retrevo's Real-time Product Review and Recommendation so consumers can make a smart and confident decision about "to buy or not to buy" in minutes if not in seconds. Call it a decision engine about products. Oh, did i mention this review is done using machines and artificial intelligence, and not editors. We are synthesizing millions of data points (more than 50 million data points to be exact) on a daily basis to create product reviews that are simple, visual, comprehensive and real-time. Yes, never trust a product review that is more than 6 months old in general because in technology world, 6 months is a lifetime. Products change, features change, sentiment changes, prices & value changes. So, don't be left with an obsolete product or an obsolete review.
- Anytime, Anywhere: we also made this product recommendation and decision making mobile. With our twitter application, now you are not teethered to your computer anymore when evaluating electronnics products, confidently walk into a retail store, pick the products on the shelf from style, looks and price perspective and ask Retrevo for a second opinion (should I buy or not). RetrevoQ service will send you a product recommendation, prices available online and a link to the product review. So go ahead, be confident while walking into a retail store, use Retrevo as your companion and walk out with a product, happy and confident.
You will notice that everything about Retrevo - from front to back looks different today. The Retrevo team was passionate, dedicated and tireless about this project. We will learn and adapt over the coming weeks and months but this is a proud moment for all of us. Sometimes, you just feel what you did mattered...today is one of those days. Of course, we pushed the envelope with this project and did a few things that might seem counter-intuitive, proof is always in the pudding. So, go right ahead, give product discovery, product evaluation and retrevoQ a try and let us know if you like what you see. Then only this feeling will really "matter".