Just stumbled across NearbyNow, a shopping search engine for local retail outlets. The point is this: NearbyNow aims to help you figure out if a local store has something you want in stock.
While the offering is currently limited (only one shopping centre in NC…we’re not THAT rural), I do believe that this will become part of mainstream CSEs and not a standalone product.
I don’t think I’m jumping to conclusions when I say that online browsing has a significant impact on offline in-store sales. ComScore came to this conclusion about a year ago, when it found in a study that about 60 percent of online searches converted into an offline sale.
Look at Circuit City, for example. They were one of the big-box early-adopters that realised this phenomenon and executed. The “it’s ready in 24 minutes or you get a $24 gift card” campaign is testament to this.
Anyway, I think it will be good going for the company who can figure out the framework for connecting the on- and off-line worlds — for everyone from the big to the little boys.