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Transformation Of Local Search; Nearby Now

Posted on 12.06.2007
Local search is becoming a standard for users to find what they need and a critical part of online success for local businesses. And if the Internet has taught us anything, its that we can have whatever we want, right now - or we can at least search exactly what we want, where to find it, and go get it ourselves. “The Transformation of Local in a Search Driven World,” a session from SES Chicago this week focused on local search and the emerging possibilities for merchants, users and advertisers. Panelist Scott Dunlap and his presentation of NearbyNow, a simplified way of locating individual products at a shopping center near you, stood out as the incarnation of local search and brick-and-mortar business.

NearbyNow allows users to scan the inventory of local malls to find where they can get the must-have jeans or hard-to-find boots in your size from the comfort of your computer or mobile phone. If going to the mall and parading around from store to store doesn’t seem like the most ideal way of shopping, NearbyNow will cut out the unnecessary hassle of ‘looking and hoping’ to a convenient ‘search, shop and buy’ for users. They take the hassle out of the mall experience without taking you away from the mall. Users can order online but for those shoppers who prefer going to the mall, they now have the luxury of knowing what they are looking for will be there for them when they get there.

NearbyNow Highlights for Shoppers:
  • Get information on product availability while at the mall.
  • Receive a text message "claim ticket" by entering your mobile phone number.
  • Search for products from the comfort of your computer and comparison shop prior to stepping foot into a mall.
  • Print coupons for nearby shopping centers.
  • Check out the “what’s on sale” or “what’s hot” categories.
For Merchants:
  • Highly effective marketing tool for merchants - list products, prices, sales and coupons for those actively looking to purchase.
  • Advantage of not having to compete with online retailers - ads are solely from merchants inside the mall.
  • 85% of products put on hold by users get picked up.
NearbyNow has some future plans to further enhance the service. Along with adding more mall locations, they are working on a method to auto-flag merchandise and a system to inform a shopper of the next stock date should an item be currently unavailable.

The service is free for shoppers to use and for stores to get listed. NearbyNow sells banner ads for both Web and mobile which pop up next to user search results. While normally seen as an intrusion, these pop-ups work as users are actively searching for related products.

Check out a demo of NearbyNow on YouTube.

- Alma Garcia, WM Contributor
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