What shoppers want

What women shoppers want

Back in 2000 Mel Gibson assumed the persona of Nick Marshall – a cocky, chauvinistic advertising executive who acquires the ability to hear what women are thinking. Nick, as you would imagine, gains these magical abilities after zapping himself with a hairdryer in a bath and hitting his head… By the end of the movie, he has not only realised that his assumptions of what women want were seriously flawed but also that his clever sales spin and advertising was no longer resonating with customers.


This movie came out more than 22 years ago and, as cheesy as it is, holds some home truths for brands and retailers today.

Today’s customers are savvy. They have access to a huge amount of product information online and often know more about a product than their salesperson, IF they shop in person that is. They don’t need a walking brochure spewing specifications and statistics at them about a product they have already researched. They need understanding, guidance and answers about everyday life with the product(s) in question.

This should be a pretty simple course correction for a good salesperson, right? Listen to customers’ questions, answer them honestly, don’t try to upsell them, allow them to get all the information they need to buy with confidence, and in doing so create real brand advocates out of them… yep, sounds simple!

Unfortunately, retailers maintain a remuneration system where it is not that simple for the salesperson. Bonuses and commissions are based on hitting sales targets, encouraging salespeople to sell, sell, sell! Sales staff are rewarded for moving items that are about to be superseded, upselling to more expensive gear and adding value (i.e. cost) to sales wherever possible. Add to this the fact that many retailers have cut back on staff in recent years, so there are fewer people around to even do the job, and you can see how this creates a perfect storm for a customer experience disaster.

The result is that customers are left feeling frustrated, angry and unheard.

That is why we created LOOKB4. As customers ourselves, we were fed up with the pushy sales approach. We wanted to get our questions answered from real product users – not from people who are incentivised to upsell and ‘move’ superseded stock. We knew there was a better way and, without Nick Marshall’s mind reading abilities, we found out what customers were thinking the old-fashioned way… we asked them questions.

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It sucks to be you… the rise of the robot vacuum

By Anthony Dean, Founder

What excites you about home automation?

I saw this YouTube video the other day where a guy was speaking about all the exciting new tech now available for our homes. A fridge with a screen on the front, so you don’t have to open the door to see if you are out of milk. A doorbell camera to see, from your phone, when a package is dropped off or know who is at your door when you are on the toilet. Voice control routines that lower the blinds, turn up the aircon, and turn on the lights. Smart homes for smart people the guy said at the end of the video… hmm? 

For me, it isn’t about being able to lower my blinds with a voice command or watch my front door from the throne. What I think is really exciting are the advances that lessen the mundane tasks or give me back time on my weekends.

I don’t know about you but I hate vacuuming, it sucks (pun intended)! It is one of those necessary evils that just has to be done. Normally, in my house, it is done on the weekend, when the sun is shining, the beer gardens are calling or the footy is just about to come on… I’m not the only one who hates it, my dog Roxy can’t stand it when the noisy old vacuum is dragged out.

But now there are rather advanced robotic vacuums that can do it all for you! Silently cruising around the floor and even getting under the bed, all without disturbing Roxy. These little machines have come a long way in a short amount of time and they just keep getting better and better.

The first generation of robot vacuums were pretty basic. They would move around randomly, bumping into furniture and walls, until they eventually covered the entire floor area. While this was helpful, it wasn’t exactly efficient.

The next generation addressed this issue by adding sensors that allowed them to map out the room and plan more efficient cleaning paths. Some even had special modes for cleaning under furniture and along walls.

The latest generation of robot vacuums are taking things even further, with features like self-emptying dustbins, mopping capabilities, and advanced navigation systems that allow them to clean multiple rooms without getting lost.

These advancements however have also meant that the typical price tag for these little helpers has ticked over from the high hundreds into the thousands. I had a look at one the other day, which seemed to do everything that I wanted and then some; but at close to $3,000, it’s not a decision I’m going to make until I have the answers to all of my specific questions!

Are they really worth the money? How much should I spend? Do I need to get more than one if I have a big house of more than one level? Are there features I need to have and others that I can do without? Fortunately, LOOKB4 can help me get the answers to all of my questions by connecting me with real people who own and use the products I’m looking at. People who aren’t selling, just happy to chat.

Check out the current product range on LOOKB4 to see all the robotic vacuums available now and click on Talk to an Advocate when you’re ready to learn more. You’ll then be connected to a fellow LOOKB4 user for a helpful one-on-one video call to have all of your own questions answered!

If we shoppers stick together, I know we can survive and thrive in the robot age!

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Car, bus, bike… or something else?

By Anthony Dean, Founder

It was February 2020 and my wife and I were flying back from a business trip to London. The check-in queues at Heathrow were long and meandering but nothing we weren’t used to. Shuffling our way through the jam-packed departure hall, I commented on the amount of people wearing face masks. It was something I had seen regularly when travelling through Asia during the height of the SARS outbreak but not usually, or ever, in London.

Fast forward to 2022 and frequent business travel feels like a lifetime ago. Our main focus now is simply getting around Sydney, to and from the office in particular, which now comes with some extra considerations than we would have had in early 2020.

Option 1: Car

We sold our second car, my work car, during the first lot of pandemic lockdowns because we didn’t need it. Honestly, I am OK with only having one car in the family. We rarely need to head in completely different directions and, when we do, we grab a GoGet or use an Uber. We find this is a much cheaper option than maintaining a second car, especially when the cost of fuel is so high.

It’s unfortunate that a second car is so cost-prohibitive for my daily commute as you really can’t beat the convenience. I live about 15km from work and, on a good day with no traffic, the drive takes me just over half an hour. On the other hand, from an environmental standpoint, good riddance!

Option 2: Public transport

Years ago, before I had work sponsored parking, I would catch buses to work every day. That was great because they dropped me right outside my office building, but the downside was they could be quite unreliable when there was bad weather or traffic. I don’t mind getting caught in the rain or cold but, during a pandemic, I am not sure if public transport is the best option for me, especially when you factor in things like social distancing.

Additionally, I’d now need to get two buses or a bus and a train to get to the office which means the chance of delays or disruptions are effectively doubled. The journey time is also close to an hour which, when you factor in things like wait times for buses/trains, can easily become longer.

Option 3: Bike

Sydney doesn’t have a lot of hills, right? This is what I thought before attempting the ride into the office. Admittedly the hills aren’t huge, and I made it in without any major issues, however, I think I’d need to find an office with better End Of Trip facilities to continue with this option. For the sake of my coworkers if nothing else!

Like many people these days, I am trying to be more conscious of my carbon footprint so I do like the idea of getting to work using ‘pedal power’. It also gives me the flexibility and convenience I enjoyed when driving into the office; without the parking issues and cost to boot. A bit of exercise and fresh air are always good, plus it only takes me 30-35 minutes from door to door. In fine weather, apart from the hills, it’s a no-brainer for me… Bike wins! Except…

Option 3b: E-bike with hill climb assistance

What if I could get all of the good bits of Option 3 without the hill climb pain and sweaty armpits? An e-bike is now a real option for me as more brands and models pop up online and in stores. With e-bike sales increasing by over 400% in the past year, it’s safe to say I’m not the only genius who has had this idea!

The only barrier standing in my way really is my total lack of knowledge and experience with e-bikes that, you know, makes me a little nervous about dropping a couple of thousand dollars while online shopping – completely sober at that! I mean we’re not talking about 80s Airstream Campers here…

Luckily though, I do know a place where I can find real e-bike users to help answer my questions via one-on-one video calls. A place where I can have a real conversation answering my specific questions with someone who isn’t selling anything.

With an extensive range of e-bikes already listed on LOOKB4, I can create my shortlist, speak directly to riders of each make/model and get my questions answered. And so can you!

LOOKB4 is available now

Check out our website or download the app via the App Store or Google Play.

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Purchase regret: the quiet killer of brand loyalty

By Anthony Dean, Founder

Bask in the warm glow of what we thought we had bought!

About 5 years ago, over a few cups of intelligence juice, myself and my mate Steve decided to buy a 1980s Airstream Camper, online and completely sight unseen. At the time it seemed like the bargain of the century and a shrewd investment we would tell stories of for years to come.

The next day, with somewhat clearer heads, we started to question our late-night investment… Is it a good investment? How much work will it take to get on the road? How much will it cost to run? How does one return an 80s Airstream if they don’t like it? These were just some of the questions that went unanswered as we read through the PayPal terms and conditions.

What myself and Steve were suffering from is called post-purchase regret. Yep, purchase regret is a real thing, and it happens to just about everyone.

So, what is purchase regret?

You know those moments when you buy something and then, a few days later, you wish you hadn’t? You might have even thought to yourself, “I really should have thought about this more…” Well, that’s purchase regret. And according to a study by the University of Minnesota, it’s one of the main reasons why shoppers stop being loyal to brands.

That doesn’t sound fair, does it? You do the research, you decide what to buy, you make the purchase, and then you blame the brand for your poor choice. Sure, when it’s put like that, the brand seems as innocent as a big-eyed kitten. However, the way we perceive products and decide if they are right for us is heavily influenced by how the brand is marketed and advertised.

The effect on brands

Purchase regret is a powerful force. It can undermine brand loyalty and erode customer trust. In some cases, if it happens on a large enough scale, it can even start a downward spiral that leads to the brand’s demise. Of course, purchase regret is not always a death sentence for a brand, but every company would rather put energy into growing market share than putting out fires. After all, it’s much easier to keep a customer than to win back a lost one.

Customers are looking for truth and authenticity when dealing with brands. They want to be assured that they are making the right decision when they press the ‘buy’ button. If they think they have been misled, the push-back will be fast, furious and targeted.

How to avoid making a purchase mistake

The first step is to be wary of anything that’s too good to be true. If an 80s Airstream seems like the bargain of the century, perhaps some questions need to be asked before proceeding to the checkout. Step number two is to take your time. Don’t make impulsive decisions – take some time to think about whether or not you really need the item or if you’ll regret buying it later. And finally, ask someone impartial who has used the product and get your questions answered, honestly.

This last step is something that we have been working on at LOOKB4 for the past couple of years. We have created an app that connects you directly with a user of the exact brand and model of product you are looking at. They are not a salesperson and aren’t rewarded if you make a purchase – so there’s no incentive at all for them to push you.

In fact, they are not associated with the brand at all, they are just a fellow shopper who is a little further along the purchase journey and might be able to help you with the info you need.

No pressure, no salespeople, no cost… Check out our website or download the app by searching for LOOKB4 in the App Store and on Google Play.

Wouldn’t if be great if we could all make better purchase decisions, ones that don’t involve late night drinks and 80s Airstream Campers…

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What do we do when influencers stop influencing?

By Anthony Dean, Founder

If you’re like me, you probably follow at least a few social media influencers. You know, those people with lots of followers who seem to always have the perfect life and the best fashion sense? I used to be really into following them, but lately I’ve been feeling kind of… meh about it all. It seems like the more popular an influencer gets, the less authentic their posts become. And that’s not what I signed up for! So, what do we do when the people we are following stop influencing us? Let’s explore that together.

What is an ‘influencer’ and why do they matter in the first place?

In today’s social media-driven world, the word ‘influencer’ is thrown around a lot. But what exactly is an influencer? An influencer is simply someone who has the power to influence the buying decisions of others. While this may sound like a very broad definition, influencers usually fall into one of two categories: 1) those with a large number of followers and 2) those who are popular within a specific niche.

Brands often work with influencers because they know that their endorsement will lead to more sales. After all, if someone with a large following says they like a product, their followers are likely to trust their opinion and buy more of that product. Similarly, people who are popular within a specific niche are often considered trendsetters. Their followers trust their opinion and look to them to see what products are ‘on trend’. As you can see, influencers matter because they have the power to Influence the buying decisions of others.

How have social media platforms amplified their impact?

Before the age of social media, ‘influencer’ status was limited to celebrities and a handful of popular personalities. But with the rise of platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, anyone with a large following can have a major impact on brands and products. These influencers have the ability to reach a wide audience with their posts and stories, and their fans are often highly engaged.

This means that when an influencer promotes a product, it can quickly become popular with their followers. And since social media is all about being cool and current, brands are often keen to partner with influencers in order to get their products in front of the right people. So it’s no surprise that influencers have become some of the most powerful players in the world of online marketing and retail. Thanks to social media, their reach can be far greater than that of other marketing channels.

Why are influencers losing their influence?

Influencers have been losing their influence lately for a number of reasons. First, paid promotions are becoming more and more common, which makes it difficult for people to trust that the influencer is being genuine about their product recommendations. Generally speaking, followers can now clearly see when a post is ‘sponsored content’.

Second, many influencers seem to be doing it for the wrong reasons – they’re seemingly more focused on building their profile and fame, making money and getting free stuff than on actually helping their followers. On the more extreme side, recent exposés have shown that influencers are not always diligent in deciding what to promote or protective of their reputations the way traditional media have been. In a hilariously sad example, influencers were persuaded to promote a hypothetical beverage containing cyanide among a list of other “organic ingredients” they were super excited about!

And finally, a lot of the content that influencers produce is simply fake – it’s highly edited and often doesn’t match up with reality. As a result, people are starting to tune out influencers and instead seek out advice from friends, family, and other trusted sources. Like they always did.

How is online retail changing?

It’s no secret that social media influencers have a lot of influence – after all, that’s why they’re called ‘influencers’. The problem that brands are experiencing is that connecting with an influencer who is outed as being fake, misleading or inauthentic can drive a wedge between them and their potential customers and stop them from ever returning to the brand.

So why do brands hook up with these inauthentic influencers in the fist place? Most of the time they don’t… the influencer starts by providing authentic advice, grows their followers and is seduced by the dollars available to promote new products. If one or more of the products, or the way they are portrayed, don’t live up to the customers’ expectations, the backlash can be massive.

As a result, brands are increasingly looking for ways to market without using paid influencers. One approach is to focus on micro-influencers, who tend to have smaller but more engaged followings. Another is to use user-generated content, which can be more genuine and relatable than paid promotions. Whatever approach a brand chooses, the goal is the same: to connect with consumers in a way that feels authentic and genuine.

Is there a better way to let shoppers know the truth about a brand’s products?

When you’re considering a new purchase, it can be helpful to connect with someone who is already using the same product. They can answer any questions you have and give you a real review of how the product performs on an unscripted, one-to-one basis. Even better, connecting with someone one-on-one can help you get a feel for whether the product is right for you.

But how do you find someone who owns and uses the exact brand and model of product you are looking at?

This is where LOOKB4 can help. We connect you with a real product user for a one-on-one video call so that you can ask then all of the questions that matter to you before making a purchase – or avoiding one!

 No salespeople, no pressure. And definitely no paid influencers… Real reviews, honestly.

 Check out www.lookb4.com for more info or search for LOOKB4 in the app stores!

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LOOKB4 is live on the App Store and Google Play


It’s a huge day at LOOKB4 HQ as we announce the launch of our mobile app for iOS and Android!

We’ve gone live with a focus on paddle sports, which is a community close to our hearts and an ideal beachhead 😅 market for us! So if you’re in the market for a new surfski, stand up paddle board, kayak or canoe – well, we’re ready for you!


How to shop with confidence on LOOKB4

Lookers (shoppers) can now find and compare products on the LOOKB4 app, book one-on-one Advocate video calls and earn reward points along the way.

And, of course, if your Advocate calls help you make a final decision – you can also buy directly from product stockists via the LOOKB4 app.

This is a whole new way to shop online for bigger-ticket items, where orders start with trusted conversations between real people with shared passions.

On the other hand, if LOOKB4 helps you avoid a purchase that was never going to be right for you – that’s also ‘job done’ in our books!

As we grow, we’ll be progressively unlocking more products and categories every week.

The focus will remain on bigger-ticket items for which written reviews, Star Ratings and unboxing videos just aren’t enough to shop online with real confidence.

What’s missing?

The ability to speak one-on-one with a regular user of the product you’re looking at! Someone who isn’t selling.

That’s the LOOKB4 difference.


How to help others shop with confidence on LOOKB4

On the flipside, passionate product owners/users can nominate the product(s) they can speak honestly about from real experience.

We want to ensure call requests are fulfilled quickly for Lookers, so – as of this month – we are kicking off a major Advocate recruitment drive.

Be sure to join us and help spread the word through your communities so that everyone knows a better way has arrived.

Advocates earn reward points for useful contributions to the community like taking calls, adding product use photos or videos and introducing friends to LOOKB4 (everything except making a sale). There’s no incentive for Advocates to talk up a product or encourage Lookers to buy – ever. This is a central point of difference and why we think LOOKB4 will become a leading source of trusted, peer-to-peer advice.

Remember you can always join as a Looker and an Advocate – you may own a certain product and be willing to speak with people about it, whilst simultaneously shopping for something new… You can give your honest thoughts about your Epic V8 surfski while asking other paddlers about the downwind performance of the new Vega Flex… Guide and be guided, what a great way to boost your points balance!


What to do with all those reward points

As you build up your points balance by being an awesome community member, you’ll have the option of redeeming points for popular gift cards and products from brands that you love like Patagonia, Helly Hansen and Vaikobi.

The idea here is that you can double down on that passion of yours and invest in some of the latest gear from brands within your community. 

In the not so distant future, LOOKB4 users will unlock exclusive brand rewards such as product accessories, upgrades, repairs and “behind-the-scenes” content or events.


Send us all your love, feedback and ideas

We’re buzzing over here as this milestone represents a lot of hard work and dedication by the LOOKB4 team and our partners over the past few months… We can’t wait for you to have a play and tell us what you think too.

LOOKB4 was built with passionate communities in mind, so we want to hear from you every step of the way. As you discover things that could be serving you better, be sure to let us know so we can continuously improve. Click here for support resources.

For more regular updates, be sure to check us out on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

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How to buy without being ‘sold’

As times have changed, with greater digital media and online shopping now the norm, so too has the relationship between the salesperson and the shopper. Once upon a time, salespeople walked door to door, showing you how products worked and why they were worth your time.

Over time, visits from friendly neighbourhood salespeople were replaced with print advertorials and TV infomercials – the connection between salesperson and customer was gradually lost. Before long, the most common form of advertising was through the almighty Internet and its plethora of entertaining, helpful, dubious and downright despicable content. Star ratings and written reviews fall somewhere on that scale…


How can we trust others online?

It appears that salespeople are no longer needed; consumers are only too happy to scour the Internet for information on the products they are after, devouring reviews that are almost as likely to have been placed there by the business itself – 5 Stars YAY 😍 (or a competitor – 0 Stars GRR 🤬) as much as a real customer. In fact, it was estimated last year that Australians spent $900 million on ecommerce transactions based on fake reviews!

As consumers are taking it upon themselves to search out the answers they are after, the role of a salesperson is fast becoming about ‘closing the deal’ and getting paid in commissions.



Changing preferences: every customer is different

It’s likely that whilst looking for big-ticket purchases in the past, you have experienced salespeople pushing you towards their current promotions, something they have in stock at present, or – of course – more expensive options. 

Did you feel that their advice was tailored to your exact requirements? Or was it more focused on pushing their own sales agenda? True salespeople (and they’re out there… not so rare as a unicorn, more like a dugong) never push; they listen, earn trust and advise. 

But if you’re done waiting to meet a friendly dugong down the local shops to help you choose your next E-Bike or Surfski, we’d like to put forward a suggestion of our own – chatting to a previous buyer who actually uses the same product you’re contemplating purchasing!

Someone who is literally incentivised to listen and share real, first-hand experiences with specific products. Nothing else.


Where LOOKB4 comes in

We’re all about trust in ecommerce. We’re building a community-driven shopping site that makes it as easy for you to book a free video call with a real current product user as it is to read the product description or hit ‘buy now’. With us, you can do all three.

But the important thing to note is that the current product user – or ‘Advocate’ – who advises you along the way doesn’t get any extra reward if you do hit the big buy button.

So why are they there? To meet people? They don’t even get to know your surname. Much less any of your contact info. We do reward them for taking the call with you and contributing to our community (e.g. by uploading product descriptions or their own product shots), but that’s about it. Their only interest is in giving you unbiased, unfiltered, honest experiences they have had when using the product you’re interested in. 

We’re aware that we can’t replace salespeople, and we’re not looking to do so. We love the professional salesperson experience. We just think that in this age of questionable online advice, another source of trustworthy product information needed unlocking – LOOKB4 is about to tap a wellspring of honest stories from well-intentioned people with no sales agenda all over the world. And you can ask them all your questions – free! 


Join us for the ride!

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Look out – LOOKB4 is launching soon!

LOOKB4 is changing the way people shop for bigger-ticket items, like Stand Up Paddle Boards, E-Bikes and Surfskis. And that’s just the beginning…

We love these products and the lifestyles they represent, we know there are a bunch of people globally who feel the same way, and we want to unlock their collective product experience as a new source of trusted information in online shopping.

The LOOKB4 mission: enabling peer-to-peer product reviews on demand

We’re making it easy for shoppers (or ‘Lookers’) eyeing exciting purchases to book free video calls with real owners (or ‘Advocates’) of specific products for honest chats about their experiences.

Advocates aren’t salespeople, just fellow shoppers who have offered to help others with big buying decisions. We like to say: “Don’t buy until you’ve heard from someone who isn’t selling.

We think LOOKB4 will help folks shop with greater confidence and make much happier purchases, especially when shopping online for higher-value products. 

Why do people want this?

If you’re going to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars getting into a new sport for a healthier lifestyle, or a new mode of transport for a more sustainable commute, you probably want to be sure you’re buying the right product for you.

No one wants to regret a major purchase, and they only come along every so often…

When solving this problem, we figured there’s no better source of information than someone who has been using the exact product you’re looking at, and no medium more efficient or trustworthy than a quick 1:1 video call. 

What makes it efficient?

A 1:1 video call means you can have your specific questions answered quickly, without needing to trawl through hundreds of conflicting online reviews and long unboxing videos that may or may not contain the info you need.

Being an online platform, you can also access our service anywhere without needing to deal with inconvenient physical shops and fundamentally biased salespeople. If you decide to buy, you can also do that via LOOKB4!

What makes it trustworthy?

Advocates on LOOKB4 aren’t paid or rewarded in any way for ‘making a sale’ – they have no incentive to pressure or even nudge you in a particular direction. They are rewarded for taking calls and being generally awesome people, but you can trust that they are only sharing their honest experiences and opinions: the good, the bad and the ugly.

We also operate on a first name (only) basis and your contact information is never shared with an Advocate. Your privacy and security are paramount – after all, our whole mission is to increase your confidence when shopping for higher-value items!

Even from our first market research survey, it was clear that people wanted a new source of impartial product advice:



Join us as a Looker

We’re launching with over 100 product listings across several categories, so it’s worth having a browse and booking free Advocate calls for any products you may be interested in discussing further. 

If a specific product you’re after isn’t currently available, you can always submit a product request and receive a notification as soon as we have a few Advocates ready to talk about it with you. 

As we’re starting out, it may take time to be matched with an Advocate in any case, so please bear with us and keep us posted if you think something may have gone wrong. Being in the authenticity business, we’re eager to hear all your feedback on our service for better or worse. We’re continuously improving our own platform based on our community’s needs.

Join us as an Advocate

When browsing our initial categories and products, you might come across some that you already own. We would love for you to then register as an Advocate willing to take video calls with Lookers. 

You too can submit a product request, if you own something you believe could be popular among our Lookers. We will notify you once that listing becomes available and you can start to earn additional rewards for your helpful contributions to our platform and community.

You can of course be a Looker and an Advocate at the same time for different products! We’re simply building a shopping community where purchases are built on trusted conversations between real people.

Follow the journey

If you’re interested in LOOKB4 as a Looker, Advocate, retailer, or anything else, please keep in touch with us via social media and you can always drop us a line: letschat@lookb4.com 

We always look forward to answering any questions you may have and taking on any ideas for the future of LOOKB4.

Happy chatting!


Head of Community @ LOOKB4