eBay acquired local product inventory and shopping site Milo.com for $75 million last December, and was fairly quick to start integrating the technology into its core products. For example, eBay launched GiftsNearby, which showed shoppers gift options available for pick up at local retailers in their neighborhood. Today, the company is debuting a new feature of Milo, called Fetch, which allows small and medium-sized retailers to upload their local inventory and automatically share the real-time availability of their products on eBay.
Fetch, which is still in beta, allows retailer to install Fetch on their point of sale systems (the platform is integrated with QuickBooks) one time and then they can simple publish their inventory to eBay’s marketplace. Fetch will update the retailer’s inventory every 15 minutes, says eBay.
So when a eBay visitor searches for an item from the retailer using Fetch, the visitor will see a local retailer’s inventory listed as well. The inventory will also be listed on RedLaser, PriceGrabber, Yellowbook.com and Milo as well. Users will be able to see current price and availability, but may not be able to purchase the item directly from the web. For now the service is free. Fetch is currently free for participating retailers. But it looks like eventually eBay will charge retailers a subscription fee.
As eBay says in a release, Fetch is an easy, low-maintenance way for small businesses to have increased visibility on the web and for owners to drive foot traffic into their brick and mortar locations.
eBay is big on pushing its online to offline strategy and this is just another piece of the puzzle.