Earlier this month, Google announced that it was making public its documentation for Local Shopping inventory for Google Merchant Center. This is a feature that lets retailers let consumers know about what they have in stock. Milo.com is another site that based upon a similar principle, and it's doing pretty well.
Milo.com has over a million unique visitors, has tracked 2.8 million products, and is growing by an average of 185,000 items per month, the company tells WebProNews.
The site also has inventory data for over 50,000 stores and covers 30,000 communities nationwide.
"According to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce currently accounts for less than 5 percent of U.S. retail sales, with the rest of sales still conducted offline," the company tells us. "Milo.com is poised to own this trend, projected to amount to almost 40 percent of total retail sales by 2011 – a $1 trillion market."
Milo tells shoppers what's in stock, and lets them conduct research, while providing real-time updates of local stores' inventory and prices. It also gives users alerts, notifying them when a price falls or a product becomes available.
Retailers can benefit by drawing in shoppers from the web to their brick and mortar stores. "It tells them what's in stock at their local store, at what price, at the exact moment of interest," the rep notes.
Mobile/online to offline retail will definitely factor into the holiday shopping season this year, as smart phone and tablet usage escalates. Services like Milo's and Google's should help in-store sales.