I am not a shopper. I am a buyer. I need something; I locate it; I buy it. By some accounts, this makes me a total gender traitor. On the other hand, it makes me a prime target for any startup willing to do the shopping for me.
Take consumer electronics site Woya, for example. When faced with the daunting task of buying a new laptop without the requisite Gs needed to make that process sufficiently simple, I have been paralyzed into procrastination. In about 30 seconds, Woya showed me inexpensive, well reviewed laptops I wanted from eBay, Craigslist, Overstock, Amazon, and other sites. It did the legwork and analytics for me, making the process entirely painless.
A simple query will return a list of results, products that have been sorted by relevance to the given keyword(s), price, rating, available discounts, or popularity. The list can also be tweaked to include results from a particular manufacturer or of a given minimum quality or popularity level. Once a product is chosen, the user is given access to any amount of information he may need to find the best deal - however he defines that term - and makes a purchase decision.
Users can check out results from retail sites, auction sites, and online classifieds from three simple tabs on the product page. They can scope out specs and reviews for a given product, and Woya lets the user know if they think now is a good time to find good deals on the product. The Deal Digger function is particularly useful, similar to Priceline's name-your-own-price function. Users can select parameters and get real-time updates if and when the selected product becomes available at a given price point.
Woya also shows trends and analytics for the product:
Of course, there are social sharing options, and the site apparently allows users to login via OpenID (although this process was a bit buggy and ultimately dysfunctional on my end, perhaps because of a Chrome-related browser incompatibility issue).
All things being equal, Woya's consumer-friendly, ad-free, highly detailed, comparison shopping approach reminded us of discount travel sites such as Priceline, Travelocity, Expedia, and their like. Those sites enjoy their tremendous popularity for good reasons: They have taken a boring, painful process and made it easier, faster, and less expensive for the end user. For a small, Bay Area-based startup barely six months old with just one full-time employee, Woya has done a great deal to simplify and streamline online shopping in a powerful and unique way. We'd love to see the site grow to encompass all verticals of consumer products.