I have started a Kingston University project to look at widgets and services for ecommerce. We were successful in getting a small government grant to find ways of helping SME retailers improve their online shops. Our project will look at simple additions to sites (through mashups, services and widgets) that improve the customer experience or give us insights into how the customer experience can be optimised.
Our research plan involves identifying such tools and services and then experimenting with them on new and existing sites and then reporting back on their effectiveness. We may also try and define gaps in the tools market and prototype them in future experiments.
We would be keen to hear from anyone who knows about mashup tools, widgets or web services particularly with any of the following functionality:
• Reviews and ratings and other “Wisdom of crowds” functionality
• Customer feedback
• Gift selectors
• Tag cloud generators (based on analysis of internal & inbound search terms)
• Guided search (based on data supplied from the product inventory)
• Recommended products (based on crowd behaviour)
• Customer tracking and behaviour analysis
• Search improvements such as “auto generated suggestions”
• Social bookmarking
• Data visualisation tools for analysing customer data or presenting on the site
We are fully aware that many of these “services” can be built from scratch but our interest is in proving the value of mashups particularly to SMEs. We are interested in the types of services that can be added to hosted ecommerce platforms such as Shopify as well as open source frameworks such as Magento.
Do let me know if you have any ideas.