RSS is mainly used by bloggers and media companies to distribute their latest blog updates and news flashes. Adding to the mix, Offertrax is bringing Really Simple Syndication to the retail sector, offering consumers more purchasing intelligence and online merchants a new way to convert site visits into sales. According to Offertrax, less than 3% of site visits convert to a sale. By letting merchants use RSS to distribute updates on products, Offertrax aims to bring visitors back for future conversions. How it works? The web-based application creates RSS feeds for entire online catalogues. Retailers just add a ‘track this’ button to each product page. Consumers can then subscribe to a product’s feed. As soon as a product’s price changes or a retailer announces a special offer, trackers are notified. Merchants can also send notes and deal alerts directly to trackers. The service is free for consumers and merchants are charged a fee. While RSS uptake by average internet users is still relatively low, industry experts predict that 2007 will be a tipping point. Mainstream adoption of RSS is speculated to get a real boost this year as new versions of widely used applications (IE7, Outlook 2007, Yahoo! Mail Beta, Apple’s Mail in OSX 10.5) fully integrate syndication. Which presents great opportunities for merchants and marketers who are finding it increasingly difficult to get email offers through to spam-deluged consumers. From the consumer’s side, services like Offertrax are an effective way to satisfy their shopping infolust, delivering exactly the information they choose to receive. Offertrax is currently in closed beta and only available to US retailers. Time to set up a similar service in your own part of the world? Or be inspired to develop an equally promising method of using RSS to connect merchants, products and buyers.