ShoppingPath.com is launching the beta version of its shopping comparison service. A preview of the ShoppingPath technology is located (for some reason) at the domain www.CrispyShop.com. What caught my eye was its unique, ipod-like, product comparison UI. It's a mix of Ajax and Flash and is quite interesting... maybe even compelling. Here is a screenshot, taken from a TV example:
How this works is that you scroll along either the blue dotted line (representing price) or the bottom line (showing product images), until you find a product you like that fits your budget. The scrolling is very reminiscent of using the scroll wheel on your iPod - it's the same kind of interface theory of being able to scroll through hundreds of options easily.
During the scrolling, you see details of the product - e.g. the Pioneer one in the screenshot above - and there are many ways to filter your search by feature, via tabs at the top and drop-down boxes to the left. One good example is sorting by 'Diagonal Size' (I assume the tabs are different for each product type). It displays something like this:
The green dots signify TVs available with larger screen sizes for a lower price.
After you've chosen a suitable product, it displays more details and popularity measures:
There is plenty of data available if needed: product reviews, ratings, pricing details, etc.
There's a lot going on in the interface, but it all seems to work very smoothly. The green dots were probably the only thing that needed explanation when I tested it. Note that the product also uses the Yahoo Shopping API.
Right now ShoppingPath is hoping to be a meta shopping engine, pointing users to retailer websites to complete purchases. It's not clear to me what the business model is, other than contextual ads. Certainly this kind of technology would be superb at Amazon.com, so long term an acquisition of the technology could be the play. Or maybe white labelling it to various retail websites.