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Developers' New Opportunity — Retailers' Open APIs 45

Posted by timothy
from the mashing-together-shoes-and-bags dept.
snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister examines the recent trend among retailers to provide outside developers access to open APIs — one that promises opportunity for developers to transform retailer data transparency into lucrative business models. But whether the trend lives up to its potential remains to be seen, especially given the hurdles small and midsize businesses face launching programs similar to those in place at Amazon, Zappos, and Sears. McAllister writes, 'There's a definite "Field of Dreams" quality to any such undertaking. Ask any company that hosts an open source software project how many outsiders actually commit code changes on a regular basis and you're likely to hear a discouraging figure. Similarly, just because a retailer builds an API doesn't mean anyone will actually use it. Given the uncertain prospects of return, it can be difficult to justify such an investment.'"
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Developers' New Opportunity — Retailers' Open APIs

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  • Re:Is it just me? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WeatherServo9 (1393327) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @03:43PM (#32605902)
    It's also useful for cataloging software; I own an insane amount of dvds and blu-rays and keep a list on my computer. When I get a new disc, I enter the upc code (it's also compatible with barcode scanners though I don't own one) and it automatically checks numerous sites including Amazon to grab things like the title, msrp, director, actors, publisher, number of discs, cover art, and other stuff.
  • by improfane (855034) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @06:40PM (#32607768) Journal

    Digital Retail should NOT be web based

    I imagine a decentralized social product network. It would be implemented with open standards and by a desktop client. Each manufacturer and retailer produce a catalogue of offered products, downloadable from their root domain ( http://manufactuer.tld/catalogue.xml [manufactuer.tld] )

    Your client would aggregate data from a number of manufacturers (product specifications) and retailers (sellers).

    It would let you compare products across any axes and produce many different fact indicators. It should be possible to compare products based on multiple indicators at the same time. This way you can do some constraint searching, such as I want a processor that offers a high performance per watt but has the lowest idle wattage, a hard drive that spins slow but offers the best data transfer rate and capacity.

    There should be a public issue tracker per product so that users can determine what issues are with thay specific product. In a a category of product such as a car, there would be an issue called 'difficult to find parts'. This may be cross linked with multiple cars. The community can identify a severity of an each with each issue so they too can be searched as another axes. (Find me cars that do not have 'acceleration problems')

    The reverse is also possible. There could be a positive attribute tracker, such as safety awards, standards (80% PSU Efficiency) and user created ones such as 'no known dangerous flaws 2010'. Of course the last one would be temporal. A product can change over time or the merit of the award becomes less relevant. When the Prius was released it could have no known dangerous flaws when it was released but then the positive attribute could be reversed when the acceleration problem was discovered. This way one could still search what was possible in the past. And what was available.

    This is not a review system, it is more objective as it describes clear attributes for a category of products. Laptops would have 'overheating problems', 'exploding battery', 'battery degradation'. These are common to all laptops, with different severities.

    The constraints would be very difficult to identify yourself unless you know what you are looking for. Users would contribute a 'saved search' for subjective product categories. Manufacturers should not have the control over this. for example, there is a difference between a DSLR and a point and shoot camera, a consumer router and a enterprise router. Laptops are a prime example: netbooks, ultra portable notebooks, desktop replacement laptops. All these definitions are up to (the knowledgeable) user who shares his searches.

    Take a look at Forum Matrix [forummatrix.org] for a good example but imagine more interactivity with the data. The interface should borrow from Drill down dashboards used by execs.

    Hope I've made sense and please contribute.

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