Tag Archives: Retailigence

Analysis: Walmart’s Pull-out from Google’s Local Inventory Ads

Building ecommerce, promotions, search, social and same day delivery services around store inventory is one of those high concept ideas that always make so much sense but have been tough to build around. Key players in the space currently include Google, Retailigence and others. Others, such as eBay, have pulled out or shrunk their efforts.

We’ve been especially interested in Walmart’s decision last week to pull its feeds from Google’s Local Inventory Ads (formerly known as Local Product Listing Ads). Launched in 2013 to complement Google’s e-commerce oriented Shopping ads, the ads allow stores to highlight local inventory and prices, and point shoppers to specific stores. Macy’s, REI and Office Depot are among users of the Google service, but most top retailers are still not participating.

Some of those that do apparently have been holding their noses. To participate with Google, they need to provide comprehensive inventory information. Walmart and others have apparently worried this information could be used against them, showing retailers where they can compete on price against it in different parts of the country.

Perhaps more importantly, retailers are worried that their feeds are infrequently updated and can contain inaccuracies and steer shoppers down the wrong path. Such feeds also may freeze the ability of retailers to engage in variable pricing strategies (i.e. “one hour afternoon specials”). In our view, Walmart’s pull out doesn’t mean that Google and others can’t succeed. But it does mean that it will need to make adjustments to work with dominent retailers that have a lot at stake.

Are there better strategies to collect and leverage inventory at local stores? We’ll be talking inventory strategies with retail expert and former Krillion CEO Sherry Thomas-Zon at BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL in Dallas March 25-27.

Retailigence: Store Inventory Aids Mobile Search, Spurs Sales

Building ecommerce, promotions, search, social and same day delivery services around store inventory is one of those high concept “local” concepts that always make so much sense but have been tough to build around.

Intuit and eBay have both purchased inventory services (StepUp and Milo) and have integrated their capabilities into their other local services. eBay, for instance, has built the suite of services in eBay Local around Milo. Other key players in the space include JiWire (via its acquisition of NearbyNow), Wishpond and Retailigence. All focus on larger retailers with multiple locations, rather than mom and pops.

Retailigence, a three year old, Silicon Valley-based company backed by $4.3 Million from DFJ, Quest Venture Partners, and Dave McClure, stands out by taking an enterprise-oriented, B2B approach.

“We are 100 percent B2B. We don’t have a consumer-facing website or app, but thousands of applications rely on Retailigence in the backend,” says CEO and founder Jeremy Geiger, who comes from a supply chain management background. A major partner, for instance, is SAP, which provides management software to mid-and-large sized retailers.

The company uses point of sales (POS) integrations to gain access to real time inventory and product data, and currently works with 100,000 stores from 325 retailers. It is “a totally different use” of POS than what loyalty services such as FiveStars and Belly are doing, which is attaching sales information to individual buyers, says Geiger. “It is the inventory modules. The data is very specific. It has product, inventory and price and some description of the product.”

It is also different than the ecommerce approach taken by Google and others, which wait for sales to check inventory. “While they experiment with the use of local data in different ways, at best they are getting daily feeds from retailers. It doesn’t enable true online to offline commerce,” argues Geiger.

Geiger says that one of the fastest growing uses of Retailigence’s inventory data is to coordinate between brands and stores. Consumers have been trained to type in store names, but when they are out and about, they really want to type in what they are looking for (i.e. “iPhone charger”). “It is a more efficient and effective way” to search for goods that will spur more sales, he says – especially to smaller retailers that are often left out of the equation.