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IMshopping Expands Human Powered Recommendation Platform to Retailers and Etailers Online


Early tests show human powered recommendations generate e-commerce conversion rates of 15%, according to IMshopping

SANTA CLARA, Calif. June 15, 2009 – Today, IMshopping, the leading human-assisted shopping service, is extending its successful recommendation platform to retailers and etailers. Now, etailers can create a virtual salesforce for increased conversion and customer retention via user participation online and via social media.

Since IMshopping’s beta launch in April 2009, the site has answered more than 14,000 questions. Early tests indicate a jaw-dropping 15.48% customer conversion rates and 71.43% click-through rates (CTR).

How it works:
This offering allows merchants to switch on branded microsites, easily integrated with widgets, so customers can ask questions directly from etailers’ sites and receive real answers with product recommendations. Customers benefit from a personalized shopping experience and etailers re-engage customers and generate new qualified buyers. The question and answer format is designed as an optimized search engine to drive additional traffic beyond the initial customer inquiry.

A merchant designs a microsite to reflect the look and feel of the retail brand with easy-to-edit design tools. The merchant also uploads their product catalog into the microsite. When a customer visits a merchant website, he/she can ask a shopping question directly on the microsite. The question is then routed to IMshopping guides chosen by the merchant who reply with answers and product recommendations from the merchant’s catalog. From here, the customer is notified in real-time and email of his/her shopping response.

“After seeing significantly high conversion rates and traffic growth after our launch, we decided to extend our platform to etailers,” said IMshopping CEO and Founder, Prashant Nedungadi. “We’re looking forward to providing a vital component missing from so many online retail platforms - human-assisted shopping suggestions.”

IMshopping’s platform is unique in that it allows users to ask product questions to experts and friends via Twitter. Research shows that now, more than ever, consumers are more likely to trust a personalized shopping suggestion from a fellow consumer. According to a recent survey from MarketingSherpa, 86.9% of respondents said they would trust a friend’s recommendation over a review by a critic, while 83.8% said they would trust user reviews over a critic. In addition, positive customer service experiences yield greater sales. A recent survey from the Society for New Communications Research shows 74% of consumers agree that they choose companies and brands based on what others say online about their customer service experiences.

About IMshopping
IMshopping brings a human touch to shopping on the Web. We make finding products easier with the help of real people who search out deals, read reviews and share this valuable information with you and the greater community. The company is based Santa Clara, California and is backed by SK Telecom.


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