The other day I was trying to find a touch screen phone for my dad and I did not want to spend a lot of money. So rather than going to Flipkart and doing a random search for phones, I thought I would use (a friend is a co-founder. Please see disclaimer at the end of the post).

Last few years, online shopping has proliferated like mushrooms and its time that some kind of filtering system came up that helped users sift through so many online destinations, each destination claiming to be cheaper and better than the other. FindYogi is one such "decision engine" that aggregates prices and data from multiple online shops. More than mere aggregation, it also enables the users to make an informed choice - both on the what to buy and where to buy from.

Since I had to buy a phone anyway, I gave FindYogi a spin. I started by browsing through the home page and looking at "popular products". I am assuming that this list of popular products is generated by amount of search traffic that each product gets. homepage

So I clicked on iPhone and was taken to a page that had detailed specs (albeit too detailed for someone non-technical like me). Apart from details, FindYogi showed a long list of stores where I could buy it online and I could go directly to seller. And the stores were listed in an increasing order of price. Sweet.

Next thing I tried was the comparison feature. I went back to the home page and selected three phones that I am vaguely aware of. Nexus, Canvas and iPhone and added them to the comparison basket. And then I did the side by side comparison. Few things immediately caught my eye.

FindYogi highlights the best feature amongst the three phones that I compared and I was in for a surprise (I did not know that iPhone is dual core and Micromax Canvas is quad core - whatever that means, but I did not know that iPhone was inferior to other two). Coming back, FindYogi also throws a result by recommending a phone, as evaluated purely on features (everything else like Brand, emotions etc withstanding). 

Comparing three phones on FindYogi
While doing my comparison, two things that helped me shortlist (and reinforce my belief in the decision) were the Yogi Index and Feature Score. They are simple ideas really but can make life so much simpler for users.

Over time, if I was FindYogi founder, I would try and make these ratings impeccable and try and get these ratings out to the market. I would love if users would say, "this phone has a FindYogi index of 4.1, just buy without any questions". More on this in the good things bit.

All in all a good and intuitive comparison engine. Separating "brand" from "product" does not come naturally to us humans. And engines like FindYogi help up over come those biases. And, yes I do hate the fact iPhone is not the best phone out there.

So, next, I entered the word "touch" in the search bar and I got a few interesting results

Search results for "touch"
The top result was a phone by Acer called BeTouch. And other results were phones that had the word touch in their name. Though its a good idea for a search engine to find items from the catalog that has the words "touch" but I ideally wanted to identify "touch" as a feature on mobile phones and give me an option to show only those phones that have that feature. Of course in the database, FindYogi does have a classification like that, scroll down and there you have options like touch, numeric etc, but I want to see it used better. This "feature" search needs improvement.

Also on the search results page, I could use the slider on the price range and multiple selection to make a shortlist of phones available to me. But then this shortlist was limited to phones matching to the keyword "touch" that I had initially used.

Thats about it I guess. And here's the summary. In terms of good things and things that need improvement.

The good things
  1. The Yogi Index. It is a brilliant idea. It helps me save time because I dont have to read long pieces of texts or browse through multiple websites. Its like that star rating that often decides the future of a movie on the box office. However, having said that I would love to see Yogi Index include ratings (on price vs value) from the members. May be a weighted average or something (50% weight to editor's rating and 50% to reviewers and mode reviews you have, higher your weight). A great feature none the less and has immense potential.
  2. The shortlisting and comparison. Awesome feature. Shortlisting was intuitive and its a neat little effect to see that phone getting added to the list at the bottom right. So much so that I actually played with the list for some time before I resumed my search and shortlisting. Comparison also works well.
  3. The good and the bad on the product page. This is probably written by an editor manually for each product. While I can create an algorithm for everything, I can never replace human intelligence. And this is what helped me shortlist the phone I want to buy. To me is the winning combination - someone gathering all the data points and then adding a layer of opinion on top of results. How I wish search in general was like that (remember in its earlier avatar?).
Things that need improvement / suggestions
  1. A better "feature"search, as explained above.
  2. There is a feature score in place for each product. Ideally I should be able to filter my choices on this feature score and Yogi Index. Right now, I can merely do a sort on this data. This would help establish credibility and reach of the two numbers that FindYogi "owns" (everything else is "owned" by the brand). If I can start popularizing these numbers, I can sell this data to brands. I guess this is more to do with marketing, rather than anything else.
  3. What if apart from just the price, FindYogi also had a store rating (they may have to gather this data from their users, dont know how though), it would help as well. The price difference in the phones category across merchants can't really be a lot and if there were a rating, I would rather pay some more money to buy from a reliable place. But then it may be just me? 

The End Note
FindYogi is brilliant with their focus on user experience and convenience. As a customer I would love to use it and recommend. Do check it out when you want to shop for a phone or a tablet.

However, they need to do a couple of things before I become a devout convert. Hope I get to see those soon!

Naman, co-founder at FindYogi, is a good friend and advices me often on my startup ideas. And yet this post is in no way biased.

Note. Starting now, every now and then, I shall try and post review of few start ups ideas that catch my fancy. I used to do this a few years back and it helped immensely to structure my thoughts better. Now that I have time, I want to restart this and exercising my grey matter.

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The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

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