I bookmarked a number of retailer pages (FNAC, Vobis, Worten and Amazon UK), and tried to do on-the-spot price comparisons across them (Froogle isn't any use for us here in Portugal), with some interesting results:
- First off, prices were wildly different (there wasn't a consistently cheap retailer, they were all better in different segments).
- Amazon UK still managed to come out ahead in one item or another despite the UK's inflated sterling prices.
- Only the FNAC and Amazon UK sites were usable in Opera Mini (i.e., search worked, I could see detailed info on the items, etc.). Amazon UK was vastly more usable, however, and I got the feeling that the markup degraded far more gracefully.
- Both the Vobis and Worten were miserable failures - searches on both sites gave zero results - or error messages - so I had to try to use their miserably crafted navigation bars.
But hey, that's the Portuguese web for you - virtually no understanding of the fundamentals (ever since our dial-up days), lousy site designs, and zero acknowledgment of the fact that mobile phone penetration in Portugal is over 104%.
Yes, that's 104% - we're sort of like an Iberian Finland, but without clever retailers and knowledgeable web designers.