All of us love shopping! Well, at least in one form or the other. Especially tempting: when discounts are involved. Everybody who got a Steam account feels my pain! Last year I bought (again) like 10 games, but none has been played so far.
When you buy on Amazon these items are either used, or just lie around. With digital products it is similar. The problem here though is much more complicated: out of sight, out of mind.
The problem with information products
Whatever problem I try to solve, there is a book, a course or a blog post available at my fingertips. And most of them are so cheap, people tend to just buy them because – well – if it does solve your specific problem, why not? (just for clarification: many purchases are impulse buys)
It is like the 0,99€ apps you find rolling around the Appstore.
My problem with these information products is that they tend to go missing. I buy something, start consuming, and then something comes up. These interruptions usually make these products disappear somewhere in my e-mail folder. No bookshelf I can see them later on. No men’s corner they end up lying around until my wife makes me clean up. In our e-mail folders – there is usually no cleanup anyways. And that often means the great e-book I just got stays where it is: on one of my e-mail accounts, on their cozy web server or somewhere in the cloud.
This is why I see a potential for a product automatically collecting those products to make sure you actually get some value for your money. A digital version of your bookshelf, or “men’s corner” if you will.
Here is what I had in mind
As nearly all sales processes require some e-mail to conclude the purchase, a virtual assistant (let’s call this bot ARLO) could hook up with your account and register every purchase you make, or every confirmation e-mail you get. Programs like my password manager do register all subscriptions already, as it recommends me saving the credentials. Some e-mail clients (like Gmail) show signs of a similar feature already.
Arlo can document all your purchases, order all additional information like links to the course or to the e-book download in one place. And If you already downloaded it, Arlo keeps a note of the actual folder you saved it in. Additionally, he would parse all the information on the websites you bought from, recommends you possible categorizations and makes it searchable (you know, just in case you start looking for it again). And if you don’t want to have another external service, Arlo keeps everything in an e-brain of your choice (Evernote, Pocket, OneNote, …).
I repeat myself – but this is definitely a service I could need in my life. 🙂
So who wants to build it for me?
What features would you add? Would that help you stay on top of all your purchases?
Let me know in the comments.