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Just think of following possibilities ...
--> The search tool is one of most often used in larger web stores, giving your visitors an easy way to find products they are interested. But same search results can be delivered via RSS as well. Imagine your customer doing a search for one of your product categories, and then also receiving a link to RSS feed for those very same search results, to find out immediately when a new product matching his terms is released or available for order.
--> This works for complex searches as well. If your customers are in habit of searching for specific product categories, but only in a specific price range, you can deliver those very same results to them via RSS, but with a small twist as soon as a new product matching their terms, including desired price, is launched, they are notified about it via RSS instantly. No need to visit your site again to do time-consuming search; release comes directly to them.
--> Of course, same approach that many are already using for e-mail alerts can be used for RSS. Give your visitors a simple form using which they enter their criteria, and then give them access to an RSS feed bringing them product updates based exactly on their criteria. Why not just use e-mail? Because no one really wants more e-mail messages in their inboxes and no one wants to give away their personal information, while RSS is anonymous, doesn't require an e-mail address and is read when customer decides he has time.
5. PERSONALIZED CONTENT SERVICES
Personalized/customized database listings are quite similar to product updates, but relate to any kind of complex information you provide to your visitors, such as …
--> Job listings
--> Real estate
Using RSS, your visitors can decide exactly what kind of »content« (in this case, an individual content item could be a new job listing) they are looking for and then have that content delivered directly to them, via their own personalized RSS feed.
And yet, all of these are just some examples of what you can do with RSS. The possibilities for new content delivery & business development models are quite endless.
For example, some companies are already giving their visitors opportunity to track their FedEx, UPS and other packages via RSS feeds. Yet others are creating new services that allow you to receive critical information from an RSS feed to your mobile phone via SMS (such as getting an SMS notifying you that a new job matching your criteria is available). Yet again other sites enable you to keep track of when you need to return your library material, and even when your holds are ready and when they are about to expire, all this using RSS.
All of these are new business opportunities made possible with RSS, and each of them in a way improves lives of end-users, without placing a larger burden (more e-mail messages) on them.
Rok Hrastnik is the author of »Unleash the Marketing & Publishing Power of RSS«, acclaimed as the best and most comprehensive guide to RSS for marketers by leading RSS experts. The complete guide on RSS for marketers: http://rss.marketingstudies.net/index.html?src=sa8