The local online shopping space is quickly crowding up. Given the vast majority of online product research that ends in offline purchases (about 75 percent according to comScore), we’ve seen a few companies develop over the last 18 months in order to lead and track offline conversions.
NearbyNow launched last summer to provide product and retailer information for malls and shopping centers. StepUp Commerce meanwhile continues to attract an impressive amount of small business advertisers that wish to put their product and inventory information online. StepUp’s acquisition by Intuit in September will position it to distribute this capability (along with Google AdWords) across Intuit’s massive installed base of QuickBooks users (including 3.7 million small businesses). Finally, ShopLocal works with big box retailers to bring their circular information (product sales, availability and pricing) online.
Today, Krillion launched with a similar focus on this big box segment. More specifically, it is going after buyers for “considered purchase” items. According to co-founder and CEO Joel Toledano, this includes products that are more than $500 which, because of their size and price, are more likely to be bought locally.
“These tend to be larger bulky items that are bought in a physical store because they might be a touch and feel purchase such as a flat screen TV, or something that you want to talk to a salesperson about,” says Toledano. The company will start with an emphasis in the $18 billion home appliances category, but will eventually grow into other categories that similarly include large ticket items, such as consumer electronics.
One of Krillion’s silver bullets will be its proprietary crawling technology that brings in raw product data, combined with its integration of this data into a series of search results pages that correspond to the many combinations of specific products, brands, categories and 40,000 US local areas. After doing this for the past 6 months, the company at launch has more than 275 million product and location results pages.
“This focuses on the ready to buy local customer who has done their research, is at the end of the buying cycle and is now essentially putting their hand up when their doing their query and saying ‘here’s what I’m looking for, here’s where I am, just tell me who carries it’,” says Toledano. “Think of it as the yellow pages meets Shopping.com”
Instead of considering itself a destination site for local shopping, Krillion will push content out using SEO so that these individual product results pages can be found in Google organic results for local product queries.
“There are only a half dozen brands like eBay and Amazon.com where people actually go to the URL bar and type it in,” said Toledano. Beyond those, whether its Shopping.com or Shopzilla, consumers on a broad swath simply don’t know those brands. They type in the product or retailer in a Google Yahoo! search box.”
The company will also integrate targeted ads throughout these specific product pages including links to complimentary products such as accessories or items that are part of corresponding appliance sets.
Given the many permutations of location and specific products, some will be more obscure than others and recieve more traffic than others. Regardless, the targeted nature of these searches, and their positioning near the end of the buying cycle for high consideration items, will make the ad space more valuable.
“To an advertiser, there is a great deal of value in the targeted nature of this,” says Toledano. They don’t have to do shotgun broad brush approach to advertise on a general category such as the term ‘digital camera’, where they are lumped in with many other advertisers.”
This could be attractive to big box advertisers, and offer more of a granular local product search than is currently offered by ShopLocal and others. Gaining traffic and communicating its value to consumers could be its biggest challenge at the onset, but given that it will piggyback on the already existing brand affinity and traffic of Google, this could be easier for Krillion.
Its success here will therefore come down to its ability to execute successful SEO tactics throughout its hundreds of millions of product result pages.