There's lots of data from many sources that reflects the dominant consumer shopping paradigm involving the Internet: research online, buy locally. Even though e-commerce, excluding Travel, will approach $150 billion this year, according to Forrester Research, that's a small fraction of offline spending. But more and more of that offline buying is influenced in one way or another by the Internet.
Among the shopping engines, ShopLocal and Froogle offer local buying information. CNET also has some local inventory information (via Channel Intelligence). Now Become.com has joined that illustrious group with a new "nearby stores" feature.
According to the company:
Launched with over 30,000 retail locations, “Nearby Stores” listings include dynamic Yahoo! Maps™ so shoppers can visually locate the closest merchants . . . To find local merchants, Become.com visitors simply choose the item they want to purchase such as “digital camera,” click on the “compare prices” button and input their zip code. Nearby Stores are indicated on the far right column with a link to detailed store information, including addresses, telephone numbers, hours of operation and maps.
Local buying/inventory information will need to be integrated by all the shopping engines over time for them to remain competitive.