After picking up local product inventory and shopping site Milo.com for $75 million, eBay has been fairly quick to start integrating the startup’s technology into its products. With the holiday shopping seasonin full swing, eBay added Milo’s local results in its barcode scanning apps, RedLaser for iPhone and Android, as a comparison shopping tool. Today, eBay is debuting its most significant Milo integration thus far—local shopping tool GiftsNearby.
GiftsNearby essentially shows shoppers gift options available for pick up at local retailers in their neighborhood. From electronics to home appliances to toys, shoppers can access products that are available at local retailers nearby their zipcode. GiftsNearby shows local retail prices for each item, directions to the closest store with inventory availability, and an option to browse eBay for the gift. And eBay assures that GiftsNearby will only show items that are actually in-stock and using Milo’s existing partnerships, shows products from 25 national retailers including Target, RadioShack, Toys R Us, and Sears.
One of these retailers, Best Buy, has forged a deeper integration with eBay, allowing users to reserve and purchase the gift online, and then skip the lines by picking the item up at their local store. And users will earn eBay Bucks, the company’s rewards points, in the process.
For eBay, Milo represents a way to break into the local shopping market. Forrester estimates that online research to offline buying is a $917 billion market that will eventually reach $1.3 trillion and account for nearly 50% of total retail sales by 2013.
eBay’s CTO Mark Carges recently told us that the company eventually plans to integrate Milo into its search results on the marketplace. So if you search for an Apple iPad on eBay, you’ll be shown the sellers who are offring the product as well as local retailers nearby who have the product in-stock.
Of course, Google also sees the potential in this market and is also integrating local product listings into its search offerings. Earlier this year, Google Product Search launched Blue Dot, on mobile search. Similar to Milo, Blue Dot allowed users within search to see if a product is in-stock at nearby stores. A few weeks ago, Google unleashed a new version of Product Search, with more inventory listings from 70 popular retail brands, many of whom also list with Milo.
One advantage eBay has over Google is its established reputation as an online shopping destination. While the search giant has been trying to improve its shopping experience, Google is not an e-commerce platform.
You have to hand it to eBay for buying and integrating Milo so quickly. Clearly eBay is looking to expand its footprint in local commerce and isn’t wasting any time in offering these features to holiday shoppers.