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Market Globally, Sell Locally

Market Globally, Sell Locally

Virtually since the birth of the Internet retailers have been trying to find ways to market globally, sell locally. And there has been no shortage of tech companies trying to develop products that would help them do just that.

Google has become the latest of the market-globally-sell-locally enablers. Their Product Listing Ads, or PLAs, have been updated to offer local product availability. The purpose is to allow you to pinpoint a product marketed on a company’s World Wide Web site at a retailer near you.

Local product availability is itself available through your desktop or smartphone app. The application takes you to the local store’s storefront where you can check inventory before heading out to buy. PLA is also available through voice search.

The engine driving this application is Google’s merchant center. The merchant center allows retailers to offer price and availability of items at bricks-and-mortar stores in close to real-time.

In online retailing this is the Holy Grail: the ability to connect actual inventory in stores with consumers’ online product searches.

Some consumers will turn their back on such an arrangement. Some consumers see the primary benefit of e-commerce as not having to drag yourself down Main Street or to the mall or avoiding sales taxes, if not shipping charges.

But economists would term such an arrangement as Local Product Availability as a two-sided market. This means that both consumers and retailers will benefit equally from such an arrangement.

Merchants have tried for years to find ways to ring up sales using the a global tool, the Internet, rather than just having their websites serve as informational portals. By connecting consumers to inventory they may have made the sale.