Locally.com lets consumers see inventory at nearby shops
Frustrated by losing sales to the Amazons of the world, a handful of outdoor retailers in 2014 launched Locally.com to open up online inventory visibility for local retailers. A unique aspect is how it helps brands sell through local dealers.
Locally now works with approximately 550 specialty retailers and more than 180 brands in North America, covering over 320 cities.
Tapping local inventory feeds, consumers can see what inventory is available at nearby stores. Inventory feeds are updated at least once a day and, in some cases, in real-time.
Items can be reserved or bought online for pickup. Consumers may head to a nearby store to try-on merchandise, get advice or take home the product immediately. In fall 2016, the service will add local home delivery using company vehicles, Uber/Postmates, bike couriers, etc.
Local retailers can make their in-stock inventory feed viewable on their website or Facebook page. The bigger opportunity appears to be how Locally.com enables wholesale brands to install “Locator” tools on their branded websites to enable consumers to see which of their items are available at local stores. Brooks, Simms Fishing, Mountain Hardwear, Thule and Wilson are among those that have done so.
Why would brands forego their own online sales? Locally promises to save a sale for shoppers who visit branded websites without making a purchase because they want to try the item, get advice or get it immediately.
But the bigger reason is to support independent shops. Brands need to be continually introduced and serviced by professionals largely available at specialty stores to buttress demand.
In a penned article on Mann Group’s monthly newsletter, Mike Massey, Locally’s president, asserted that if a brand isn’t able to be supported through high-service specialty stores, “only the rarest brands will continue to see sales growth, online or off. And when a key channel is no longer competitive, or you hand the primary customer relationship over to a few large retailers, it won’t take long before you are pinched.”
- Tools for Modern Retail – Locally
- We are phasing out support for non-participating brands. – Locally
- Thule launches Locally’s Product Locator to enhance online-to-offline experience for consumers – Locally
- SIMMS First Fishing Company to Integrate Locally’s On-Site Tools – Locally
- Nathan Partners With Locally To Drive Shoppers Into Local Stores – Nathan Sports
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How might services like Locally that provide inventory transparency at the local level aid smaller, specialty stores? What benefits do you see for brands? What do you think overall of the Locally business model?