eBay Acquisition Of Milo.com Underscores Importance Of Retail Inventory In Local Mobile Search

It was announced today that eBay has reportedly acquired Milo.com, a local shopping service that shows retail inventory levels at participating stores.  As mobile shopping solutions and local mobile search continue to evolve, the importance of value-added services like local inventory search will become primary drivers.

A major complaint with consumers in terms of today’s mobile shopping solutions are a lack of real-time inventory search when out and about.  There’s plenty of apps that allow you to search for stores and items, and even scan product barcodes to research a product or introduce a social element to mobile shopping, but the simple task of knowing if the store you’re going to has the product you’re after has been largely nonexistent.  Those that do exist have been greatly limited in terms of the stores they serve.

The underlying infrastructure for stores to provide real-time inventory monitoring for services like Milo.com is the largest barrier, but I don’t see why the inventory management solutions most stores use can’t offer this seemingly simple integration.  There’s likely only a handful of large-scale inventory management solutions in use by most big-name retailers, and it seems relatively simple to leverage an API of some kind to communicate data to consumer-focused applications like Milo.

Google recently introduced a similar service, and it’s companies like this that will do the most to advance the concept.  Milo.com, following its acquisition by eBay, will be in a much better position to tackle the problem as well.  In the end, local mobile search will be defined by highly-usable applications like inventory search, so it should be interesting to see how it all plays out.