eBay acquires Milo local comparison shopping site

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eBay have just purchased Milo.com, a site which focuses on making what’s available in local high street stores visible online. Their mission is to track every product on every shelf of every store in real-time. They want to build a bridge between online and in-store commerce.

This acquisition will enable eBay to provide consumers with access to millions of products from approximately 50,000 stores across the USA today, and as the network grows across the US and spreads worldwide can provide a new channel for retailers, including eBay sellers, to reach more shoppers.

This is a really interesting proposition, eBay have in the past few years made changes to the site with the aim of encouraging retailers to place all of their inventory on eBay. This has had mixed results, there’s definitely an increase in the number of high street retailers increasing their number of listings on eBay, but few are listing their entire inventory on the site. Milo blurs the lines between in-store and online as rather then giving the ability to purchase online it gives buyers the ability to find the product online and purchase it at a local store.

The local part of Milo is important, many retailers are merging their channels with “Buy online, pick up in-store” strategies. Milo takes this to the next stage by enabling consumers to search every participating retailers stock in local high street stores and get the instant gratification of driving to the store and picking up their goods the same day.

eBay say that they plan to integrate Milo’s local product feeds into both its online marketplace and their mobile applications, quite how this will be viewed by the traditional eBay seller has yet to be seen. As a buyer would you rather buy online and wait for your item to be delivered or would you prefer to find a product and go to collect it same day? I guess it depends on the product, how urgent your requirement is, and if the price in-store compares favourably with the online price.

If you’re based in the US and want local inventory retailers can sign up to join Milo on their site.

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