Milo is seeking to do what nobody has really done successfully so far: create a true online-offline shopping destination. There are several companies out there aggregating and distributing inventory data (e.g., Krillion), but no one has created a successful consumer destination. ShopLocal has largely abandoned its consumer shopping model and become a marketing services company for its retailer clients.
Seeking to become that company Milo has raised $4 million from a range of institutional and individual investors.
The historical challenge has been getting the inventory data and getting enough of it across categories. Milo has developed a methodology that the company believes will give it a powerful shot at becoming a shopping brand and delivering the experience that mirrors the dominant consumer shopping behavior pattern: shop online and buy in stores.
For those who believe that e-commerce is the inevitable future: today it’s flat to declining roughly 3% YoY (per comScore, although YoY it will grow over the holiday season). As the economy improves it will grow in the low single digits across most categories. It’s inching up to 3.7% of total US retail ($922B in Q3):
Source: US Commerce Dept.
Of course the future is multi-channel, with some purchases happening online — mobile adds an interesting wrinkle (in-store price check leading to online purchase) — but the overwhelming majority taking place in physical stores. (Reserve/buy online and pick up in store is also going to be pervasive.)
Here’s my earlier post on Milo. Mobile shopping is also in the company’s near future.