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shopping browser addonThe shopping season is almost upon us. Every year, more and more of us turn to the Internet to help us pick up the items we need – okay, maybe not need, but are looking for – and avoid the rush of people crowding our various stores and shopping malls. What are you looking for this year? A new jacket? A purse? Or a new pair of shoes, perhaps? At any rate, this is generally much easier to do online.

But what if you need a second opinion? Are you one of those people who finds something cool online and then sends a link to the listing to a few of your friends to see what they think? If you can’t decide between two similar items, maybe you send them a couple of links to get their opinion? I’m sure they must love you when you do that.

But what if I told you that you didn’t have to do that anymore?  In this article, I’m going to show you a much easier way of getting multiple opinions on items before making that final decision on a purchase.

What Is Rately?

Rately (directory listing) is a utility that makes it easy for you to save the things that you’re shopping for. It lets you create and share questions around the products you’re interested in, so you can get other people to help you make better choices.

Basically, Rately lets you shop with your friends. You can use the bookmarklet to stay connected to products from the brands that you like and to discover what products your friends are talking about. You can also utilize Rately via its browser extensions, but more on that later.

shopping browser addon

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At the heart of Rately is the Rately Question. With this feature, you can highlight up to 9 items that are kept on your Saved Items list. The items will be accompanied by a question typed by you, like “which shoes should I order for tomorrow’s race?“, and you can publish it by posting to Facebook or Twitter, as well as grabbing a link and sending it to others via email or instant message. You can also embed Rately Questions in places such as your blog.

shopping addon

If you don’t want to ask questions with Rately, you don’t have to. The app still has utility in that you can use it to stay up-to-date with what your friends or favorite brands are talking about. You can see what they’ve been up to in your Recent Activity section, and you can weigh in on any outstanding questions asked by the people you know.

How does Rately work?

When you’re ready to test Rately, just head over to their site and hit the Sign Up button. A menu will drop down asking you to connect with your Facebook or Twitter credentials.

You’ll be redirected back to the site, where you’ll be on your (empty) Recent Activity feed. You can check out questions asked by Rately staff members or you can get started asking questions of your own by clicking through to the My Questions section and selecting the “Get Started” link.

shopping addon

Next, you are taken to the Tools page, where you can install one of the available browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari, or add the bookmarklet to your search bar (also available for Internet Explorer and iPad/iPhone).

Lastly, you can begin using Rately, which is really quite simple. Whenever you’re on a shopping site – like Amazon – and you see a product you’re interested in, just click the Rately bookmarklet or browser icon and a box will pop up, allowing you to select a product image and enter in information such as an item description, price, and tags.

shopping browser addon

You can then type a Rately Question about that item and (optionally) share it with your Facebook and Twitter friends, or you can click the “compare multiple items” link to repeat the process with items. This is helpful if you’re torn between similar products and would like to seek a second opinion.

Lastly, you will be able to view your question, set notification settings, or embed/copy the link to it to share with others, who will hopefully help you make the right choice.

What do you think of Rately?  Do you think this will help make your purchasing decisions a bit easier?

  1. Cameron Jackson
    January 28, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Great idea, I might give it a shot later on.

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