Saturday, April 23, 2011

Start-Up Watch COD: Retailigence Connects Mobile Apps to Local Retail Inventories

Local shopping apps are increasing in number and popularity. Essentially what they do is help consumers understand where they can obtain an item in their immediate vicinity.

A company called Retailigence helps retailers, brands and agencies communicate local availability of products to web and mobile apps via its free and open API. It connects inventory management systems to the mobile web, so that as users of apps search for products, partner stores’ inventory can appear in the results. It’s a cloud-based Data as a Service (DaaS) solution providing seamless access to thousands of retailers and a host of end-user applications.

Say you are a shopper in the market for a Nikon Coolpix S5100. You use your phone to find out where to get one. When you make your query in a shopping app, Retailigence facilitates listings by providing data that they have aggregated from the inventory management systems of local stores. If a nearby retailer stocked the item and had one in stock, Retailigence would ensure that the app listed that local retailer in the results.

Here’s a vid that explains the concept:

Introducing Retailigence from Retailigence Corp on Vimeo.

Retailigence currently has access to the inventory of more than 65,000 retail locations, and works with most of the major back-end inventory management systems. In fact, Retailigence recently announced partnerships with ERP and POS systems like ERPLY and B2B Soft. The total number of products in their database exceeds 5M, across a large number of retail categories like electronics, apparel, books, games, toys, etc.

Without using a service like Retailigence, brick-and-mortar retailers are generally left out of online and mobile search results. Even though shoppers may be standing right outside a store , they won’t be aware that the store can fill their needs. Instead, what they’d get in their search results would likely be dozens of dotcom purchase options. While many online searchers favor dotcom buying, there are millions of people who would want to purchase today in a store nearby. The local Chamber of Commerce likes that. Not to mention that shop owners.

To continue with the camera example, I did a search for a Nikon Coolpix S5100 on my Android phone. Google returned only one listing on the first page that offered a local purchase option, and even then I would have had to query that retail chain’s database on their site to check availability in stores near me. That anecdotal search demonstrates the need for local retailers to get connected. A host of apps have been built for this purpose. Retailigence powers many of these apps with rock solid inventory info.

For brands and agencies, the opportunity to partner with Retailigence has clear benefits. Marketers can ensure that Retailigence lists local retailers that stock their products. By driving more visitors to those locations, they can drive sales and be a better partner to retail organizations.

For retailers, participating in platforms like Retailigence should be a no brainer. For most stores and chains, the biggest challenge of all is getting folks in the door. Retailigence can make a big difference in their foot traffic. And chances are, those feet will be propelling souls anxious to plunk down credit cards immediately.

I’ll close with the words of Jeremy Geiger, the CEO: "Smartphones and location-based services are changing the very face of traditional retail. We are excited to be at the forefront of this revolution by driving high-intent foot traffic directly to the retailer’s doors. Our ability to deliver location-relevant inventory data to apps is not only making apps more functional and useful, it's also providing retailers (large and small) a way to be visible at the right time and at the right place.”

Thanks to ad:tech for publishing this first.

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