For some time I’ve believed that the various “local product inventory” data providers (NearbyNow, Shopatron, Where2GetIt, StepUp, Krillion) would begin to syndicate their data to more established third party sites. And when that started it would become a competitive requirement for all shopping sites that hoped to be viable over the long term.
Well, it’s started to happen. Krillion, which began as something of a quasi consumer destination and SEO service for manufacturers and large retailers has now shifted somewhat and is becoming a data provider to third parties. The first of these relationships is with TheFind.
On TheFind, a user can check a “loc” box and see inventory carried in local stores. TheFind has created this feature by crawling and matching store locations with online inventory (asking users to call stores to confirm product availability). But now users can also “check availability online” and they’re taken to a framed version of the Krillion site, which shows actual in-store availability:
This is both the future of online shopping and “ecommerce” (buy online, pick up in store). True ecommerce (buy online and ship to me) will be viable only for trusted brands/sites (e.g., Amazon and a few others) and only those no-name etailers willing to aggressively discount and/or offer free shipping all the time.
We should also see products now being integrated more into local search sites. Products and services have represented two separate silos. Now that the data are coming online rapidly and being syndicated these silos should start to break down. It’s a very interesting and exciting development.