Krillion, a shopping engine that directs people to local stores, has launched its second category, televisions. The site went live in February of this year (with appliances), under the leadership of co-founder and CEO Joel Toledano, former Director of Business Development for Yahoo Search. While the Internet continues to rapidly expand its influence over consumer purchase behavior, the overwhelming majority of transactions are made in local stores.
Sound like a contradiction? It’s not.
Two of the most historically bullish proponents of e-commerce, JupiterResearch and Forrester Research, have now both predicted that Internet-influenced offline shopping will be a trillion-dollar category within the next five years. Stripping away the hyperbole, what this simply means is that most consumers will use the Internet to conduct product research before buying offline.
Krillion is one of several companies seeking to bridge the online-offline gap. Toledano has an interesting spin on what his site is doing: solving the “last mile problem” for manufacturers and retailers. In other words, Krillion seeks to show where, in the local area, someone can purchase a specific home appliance (and now TVs). There’s no e-commerce option. Indeed, Toledano is running a kind of SEO operation for advertisers and Krillion is apparently ranking well in search results, which is the site’s primary focus. Krillion is buying minimal SEM traffic.
In addition to Krillion, some of the other shopping sites seeking to solve the online-offline problem include:
- StepUp (now part of Intuit)
- Google Product Search (formerly Froogle)
- AskTheLocal (UK)
- Data provider Channel Intelligence
At some point in the next several years product inventory information will come online — and by extension into mobile (see, for example, GPShopper) — in a meaningful way. The availability of that information will only reinforce existing consumer behavior and make the Internet an even more invaluable resource for local (offline) shopping.