The Wall Street Journal (subscription req’d) writes about a partnership between mobile carrier Spint and GPShopper to provide information about local shopping inventory on mobile phones. The consumer application offered by GPShopper is called Slifter, which used to require entry of a Zip code. The partnership with Sprint removes that requirement because of the phone’s location awareness.
GPShopper is one of several companies seeking to put local store inventory information online (and on mobile devices). Others include ShopLocal, NearbyNow, StepUp, Krillion, Yokel, BrandHabit, Channel Intelligence and CNet.
Mobile is a ripe area for local inventory information. When shoppers are out and they’re unable to find a desired product the information “where else can I find this?” is highly valuable. NearbyNow offers text messaging for similar information in malls in the U.S.
Local shopping and inventory information are perfect for mobilization, helping to bridge the gap between online advertising and e-commerce and offline purchasing. Even though e-commerce has grown dramatically over the past couple years, it still represents less than 4 percent of U.S. retail according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
The dominant use case is consulting the Internet for product and price research before buying locally.