Research online, buy local. That is how many of us tend to operate…and more and more services are trying to connect us to the inventory available at our local stores. Now Google has dipped their toe into the space with the launch of their ‘blue dot’ service. Their mobile (and only mobile for now) product search results will include a ‘In stock nearby’ link if one of the retailers they are working with (1) has a location near you and (2) has that product in stock. The list of retailers is pretty short at launch: Best Buy, Sears, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and West Elm.
This is a new feature for Google, but a few companies have been playing in the space for a while now: thefind.com (they don’t have the real-time inventory aspect though), shoplocal.com (driven more off of weekly print ads) and milo.com (true real-time inventory) are the ones that come to mind.