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PriceLocal, a Michigan-based company, is trying to make some noise with what it promotes as an ability to "allow shoppers to search on Amazon and then get the product they want same day from a local store at the Amazon price."

According to the company, "More than 10,000 price matching stores have been added to PriceLocal’s search results, including Target, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Office Depot, Fry’s, Toys R Us and more, in addition to the smaller local stores already participating in the PriceLocal network. Other retailers’ immediately available local inventories can be searched with PriceLocal without the price match, including Home Depot, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Barnes & Noble."

MediaPost reports that "some retailers provide a product feed, while others do not. When the retailer doesn't provide a product feed, PriceLocal crawls the Web site for local product inventory information ... The tool works as a browser extension in Chrome for Safari on laptops and desktops, but PriceLocal Founder and CEO Matt Chosid said the company will expand to allow consumers to search from mobile devices in the coming months."

The company says its primary advantages include "the ability to search from Amazon, where 55% of all online product searches start according to BloomReach," and "same day pick up, which 79% of consumers say they strongly value according to Boston Consulting Group."
KC's View:
Somehow, this seems vaguely reminiscent of when Priceline got into the grocery business, creating a "name your own price for groceries" model; I always understood why Priceline wanted to work with supermarkets, but it never made sense for supermarkets to get into bead with Priceline ... they saw it as an easy way to develop an early-days internet strategy, but all it did was abdicate responsibility for innovation and, in many ways, void their own differential advantages.

I think the same may apply here. This persuades retailers that the service allows them to compete with Amazon on price, which makes all the difference ... but it ignores all the other differential advantages that Amazon is developing for itself.

This is, at best, a short-term tactic ... a way to buy time while developing a real and persuasive approach that differentiates oneself in the mind of the shopper. But a long-term play?

Not so much.