Read on SearchEngineLand:
There are a handful of companies that have been building local product inventory databases, many of them under the radar. They include Krillion, NearbyNow, Shopatron, Where2GetIt, Channel Intelligence and ShopLocal. Krillion was the first to start syndicating that data. But NearbyNow is now going to take its billion product database and make it available in the near future through a free API. […] In my view this is a radical development for online shopping and will mean that search engines, comparison shopping sites, verticals and individual developers (think mashups) will be able to use the data.
Whaou. Plus, NearByNow is announcing a partnership with TheFind, to use those data:
NearbyNow has partnered with TheFind, Inc., a leading shopping search engine for discovering lifestyle goods, to offer online shoppers using TheFind.com the ability to reserve products at select local retailers. […] NearbyNow and TheFind Inc. have agreed to join together to enhance the shopping experience for millions of Internet users by integrating online shopping search with local store inventories. Shoppers using TheFind.com will be able to simply click a button to search local store inventories for the products they like and reserve the items for pickup at over 30,000 participating store locations of over 200 leading national retailers. This capability will greatly simplify local shopping by letting consumers, for the first time, search and find the desired product online and then have it put on hold for purchase at a local store location. […] Shoppers on TheFind.com will experience the integrated technology via a “Check Local Inventory” button that that appears in the mouse-over information next to all the products from the over 200 national retailers supported by NearbyNow. A consumer clicking on that button will then be prompted to choose a local store location so that NearbyNow can check inventory of that product at that store and then reserve the item for a scheduled pickup time.
WHAOU! TheFind started experimenting with local shopping early this year when it launched a feature to find the local stores of online retailers. At this time, I was impressed by this feature, but was a bit critical about the overall user interface of TheFind: it had a clean user interface when it launched in ’06, but its UI has become cluttered with the integration of maps and local stores.
Now TheFind goes a step further with local inventories – which is a smart move and really innovative in the world of CSEs – but it will clearly bring some challenges in terms of usability: how to compare and make a choice between online and offline offers?
Personally, I sometimes hesitate buying online or offline. I’m not only looking at the price, but also at the delivery time to make a choice: I can accept paying a few extra euros if I can get the product I want right now in a local shop. Will TheFind be able to help me make this kind of choice? I can’t wait seeing this integration live!!!