Milo, a startup that highlights local inventory at brick and mortar stores in product search results, is taking its platform mobile today with the release of a free Android app. Milo.com tracks the real-time availability and prices of more than 3 million products at over 50,000 stores across the U.S., including Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, Crate & Barrel and more.
Using the Android’s phone geolocation, the app will identify a user’s location and return realtime results for a product’s availability at stores in the area. Users will also be able to access where stores are located and how the price compares to other stores in a given area. So if I searched for a juicer in Palo Alto, Milo would return availability of the device at the stores nearby, including Target, Macy’s and Crate & Barrel. The app will also give me driving directions to local stores.
While Milo does have a HTML5 optimized site for smartphones, this is the first native app launched by he startup. In all honestly, I think that Milo’s service could even become more popular on mobile phones than on the web. The idea that I can simply look up a product’s local availability on the go or even while I’m at a competitor’s store is incredibly appealing.
And it’s no coincidence that Milo is launching as the holiday shopping season ramps up for the year. Milo co-founder Jack Abraham tells me that he expects the app to immensely popular amongst users, especially as consumers use the app for price comparisons on the go.
Abraham says that a similar app for the iPhone will also be released shortly. As to why he launched on Android first, he said that the process of developing an app for the Android platform was simply easier.
Of course, there’s also another factor to consider for Milo’s move to publish on Android first. Google recently launched a similar feature, called Blue Dot, on the mobile version of Google Product Search, Similar to Milo, Blue Dot allows users within search to see if a product is in-stock at nearby stores. But as Milo countered, Google doesn’t have the inventory reach that Milo has. Milo also recently launched a deal with comparison shopping site Pricegrabber to show local inventory in search results.
Earlier this year, Forrester reported that the “online research, offline buying” consumer market represents $917 billion in consumer spending, which was 30 percent of all U.S. retail sales at that time. This market is significant and if Milo can develop a loyal userbase on its mobile apps, it can grab a piece of a pretty big pie.