Instead of enduring a canned demo, I asked Ryan if we could use Import Genius to search for a product of my choosing, in this case Mopeds, 50cc or under, sourced from China. Coincidentally, motor scooters were one of the products that Ryan and his brother had successfully imported in times past. He was more than accommodating.
Therefore, we went on a live hunt for Chinese scooter suppliers. The interface was more than adequate for the task, providing a list of suppliers that could then be filtered and sorted using various criteria. There was a nifty tag cloud condensation of the manifest files that was particularly interesting. Of course, the results set could then be exported into an Excel spreadsheet. Searches could be saved for future reference.
Overall, the interface was clean and functioned well. It was also fast and efficient with the tasks given it. The Data was less than 1 week old. Some TI providers take weeks before their data is ready for prime time. At CenTradeX we could turn it around and have it live within 24 hours, if pressed.
The very coolest, most innovative thing I saw was the dynamic visual mapping utility. For instance, you can start with a potential Chinese supplier and see a visual map of their top ten customers in the U.S. Then, you can click one of the displayed customers and, in turn, see their 10 top suppliers. It’s a fantastic, graphic way to follow the supply chain and vet potential factories.
Several years ago I played with a linguistics version – a free visual online dictionary. It’s fun to play with. Try it yourself at SnappyWords.com or Visuwords. My personal favorite is Visual Thesaurus. The engine behind the Visual Thesaurus is called ThinkMap, which is available on a license basis and has been used in many interesting applications. Import Genius has had the genius to apply this type of technology to international trade.