eBay Bets On Online To Offline Shopping, Adds Milo's Local Product Availability To Search

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eBay has been quick to start integrating Milo’s local product inventory technology into its products after picking up the startup for $75 million in December. eBay added Milo’s local results in its barcode scanning apps, RedLaser for iPhone and Android, and GiftsNearby, as a shopping tool for consumers to find gift options available for pick up at local retailers in their neighborhood. Today, eBay is launching its deepest integration with Milo—on it’s search platform.

Milo’s local availability results will show eBay shoppers which local stores in their neighborhood currently have a desired item in-stock and how much it costs at each location. Milo currently provides access to millions of products from approximately 50,000 stores across all 50 states.

eBay shoppers will now have the choice to opt-in to a feature that will include local shopping tab in search results to check a product’s local, or in-store, availability directly from the eBay search results page. In addition, product pages for MP3 players and GPS devices now also include a local shopping tab, which will displays in-stock results from nearby stores.

For now, the local search feature has been integrated with eBay Garden, but we’re expecting it to be extended to other search portals in the near future.

In addition, eBay is providing retailers who use QuickBooks a way to easily upload their inventory onto Milo and eBay through a new inventory management plug-in. Essentially, this makes it a whole lot more easier for retailers to integrate their offline merchandise onto Milo and eBay.

For eBay, local appears to be one of the key strategies that will drive the e-commerce company in the future. 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. This is a way for eBay to get in on this revenue source.

This deepest integration also means that eBay will go head to head with Google on product search, as the search giant’s newest version of its Product search portal was updated with local inventory listings from 70 popular retail brands, many of whom also list with Milo.

Between eBay’s local strategy, and its ambitions in fulfillment with its recent $2.4 billion acquisition of GSI Commerce, the company has definitely upped its game in the battle against Amazon and others.