Yahoo! gets into the shopping frame of mind

The Internet is a great tool for shopping. Not only can a searcher find out everything about a product before buying they can also search the world for the keenest prices. Now Yahoo! has released a beta product known as Yahoo! Mindset to assist in the shopping process.

Internet marketers have long known that there is a cycle in the shopping process. Often a customer will identify a need and dig out some information about the kind of product they want to buy – things like the most respected brands and specifications. When they are happy with the level of information they have gathered they will then go into a shopping mindset and find the best deal on the Internet they can.

Google already attempts to assist buyers with this process. When typing in a product name, the results will often return the specifications page followed by any reviews and finally a list of dealers.

Yahoo! Mindset puts the process in the hands of the user. A searcher can choose roughly at what period of the buying process they are and adjust the results accordingly. Thus, by moving a bar either more towards the research or the shopping end of the scale, the results will be weighted either towards information about a product or category or towards a list of online retailers.

The bar is set by default in the middle i.e. a balance between research and shopping with each of the results ‘weighted’ accordingly and given a number. If the user chooses to move the bar one way or another, the results are re-ordered. They retain their original number alongside so that the searcher sees how the listings change relative to the initial order.

Yahoo! Mindset is unlikely to become a fully fledged product in itself. Instead, it is rather an interesting research tool for shoppers to play around with and for Yahoo’s researchers to analyse the results. However, the results may feed information into some future behavioural algorithm that will adjust search results against where the engine estimates the searcher is in the buying cycle.

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