Shopping search engines are not new, but the main contenders are still not exactly user friendly. Sortable.com is trying to change that. And–who would’ve guessed–they’re focusing on presenting a full array of product features and educating consumers about those features. Sortable’s navigation is definitely a step above, say, Nextag or PriceGrabber. It’s also clear that the site was designed in the era of social media and crowdsourcing: Their “About” page is a long infographic that includes the number of Facebook fans they and similar sites have. Users can edit product info to add missing specs, vote on new product categories (so far, Sortable covers five types of consumer electronics), add personal information to help the search engine find more relevant products, and suggest changes in the community forum. If the startup is successful, online product research might look very different in the near future.
This potentially game-changing shift in how shopping search works is yet more impetus for content merchandisers to make sure product descriptions and feature/benefit statements are available and accurate. Sortable includes an exhaustive list of features for shoppers to sort by–companies that don’t provide features of their online products will lose out with this shopping method. They may also fall prey to the butterfly effect of content merchandising which, as Rick Santorum can attest to, is not limited to online marketing. It might be hard to imagine experiencing the same kind of embarrassment Santorum must be feeling right now over a product, but nothing’s impossible.
Read more about Sortable and check out some screenshots at mashable.com.