Why we created Squirrel

Stuart Miles

When I first started in journalism in the late nineties all that was expected of me for a story was around 250 words to explain the usual who, what, why, where, when, and if possible, how.

Today things are vastly different. Writers are now expected to not only write the words and enter it in the site’s content management system (CMS), but more than likely, also expected to take photos, shoot video, promote it on social, and more recently find the right price and retailer too.

And that’s where the first of many problems can begin.

What retailer does the writer pick, how can you be sure the price is the best one, or even the right one, and more importantly in a world where your readers can come from all corners of the globe, what currency do you even show?

Many sites today have opted for a “one-size-fits-all” approach that is dictated by the resources they have available to them.

That normally involves listing the item they’ve written about at one retailer in their preferred country and currency: Amazon.com in the US in US dollars for example.

If they’re lucky they will have convinced the editorial team to list a second country, but it’s unlikely they’ll have justified a third.

Finding the right retailer that’s stocking the product you want to feature is just the first hurdle though. Prices now constantly change varying not only week by week, but in some cases hour by hour especially during shopping holidays like Black Friday.

Remembering what price you put where in what country when soon becomes a spreadsheet nightmare if you want to ensure the information you are giving your readers is accurate and stays accurate. And yet all of this work can still result in you neglecting the reader in terms of where to buy for the best price.

Amazon is simple, easy to use, and nine times out of 10 stocks the product you are after, but there are plenty of times when it is not the easiest or not the simplest.

And so, with all those problems to solve, we set about creating a solution that could be used by editorial teams to solve the issue of offering readers the best price from the most relevant retailers in the reader’s local currency.

The result is Squirrel.

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