New iStorez site gives users the scoop on Black Friday

iStorez, the web site that aggregates specials, newsletters and coupons from online stores to help its users hunt for deals, recently unveiled its new swanky look — and could prove a prime resource for Black Friday (and subsequent holiday) shoppers.

A simple search for “black friday” on the site yields a crop of sale announcements and discounts for Home Depot, Kenneth Cole, and online electronics shop Newegg among others. Searches for holiday coupons and sales call up hundreds more.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company distinguishes itself from other shopping sites like Kaboodle and Silkfair by allowing users to set up a personally-tailored online mall. The feature collects information on products and deals based on user-defined preferences in stores, brands and designers. They can then share their mall via Facebook, MySpace and blog widgets.

At the same time that it launched its new site (now much more clean and professional looking than it was just a few months ago), iStorez also announced a handful of valuable partnerships with the likes of Yahoo Shopping, retail property manager Westfield, shopping search engine TheFind, and NearbyNow, a site that lets its users locate and buy stock at physical stores close to them. In addition, it will track updates and deals from 500 new major brands including Polo, Gap and Ralph Lauren.

Updated in real time, the site has developed its own search tool called Adaptive Filtering to make rapid personalization possible. Its goal is to become a one-stop-shop for thousands of brands at once, with each search query leading to virtual “store windows” of relevant products specific to the user. It’s gotten off to a promising start, but the holiday season will be the real bellwether of its longer-term survival.

The downturn, which is clearly going to put a damper on holiday shopping anywhere and everywhere, could put a crimp in iStorez’s plans. The company recently conducted and released results to a survey forecasting the slump. But it remains optimistic, asserting that the extra conveniences it delivers in the online shopping space should separate it from the pack. Its report showed “better connection between online and offline shopping” as the number one improvement desired by online shoppers. And it believes its new ties with Westfield and NearbyNow should cater to this need.

The site received $2.3 million in first-round funding from Norwest Venture Partners last month.