When first envisioning the Locally platform, the founding team agreed that creating a platform for finding merchandise nearby shouldn't be a catalyst for local retailers fighting over prices. Our goal was to help local stores be found online, not force them into an auction environment. We just couldn't see that model gaining widespread adoption.
But, six years later, it's obvious that we are underserving both retailers and shoppers by NOT providing local price insights. And, we strongly believe it can be done without encouraging price wars.
Here's why we're switching to real-time prices this fall:
• New Tools
Locally now works with nearly 10,000 stores, and together, our retailers stock almost a billion different products ... from baby blankets to cowboy boots to drywall screws. But, we currently only have product content and product pages (PDPs) for around 250 brands and 1.5M products. That's a huge gap. And, while we can see that a store has a particular item in stock, and we might even be able to figure out what it is, unless we collect pricing information from the brand/manufacturer, the only way we can present a price to the shopper is by collecting it from the store.
• Expansion into Europe
As we move into serving Europe (happening now), presenting shoppers with actual selling prices is not just a convenience, but a legal requirement. Retailers and brands that work with Locally today often cannot display the price that the shopper will receive in the store -or- is shown a price that the shopper cannot receive. This is an insurmountable obstacle and will be solved with this upgrade.
• Retailer Disadvantage
We also now see that local stores want to match sales and promotions of online merchants more than just trying to underprice another local store. If a high-visibility brand or retailer is having an online promotion, many stores want to make sure their loyal customers know they can get the same / matched price in their stores too. Allowing local stores to be equally competitive with online stores is a big boost for them and their customers.
• New Partnerships
Lastly, new partnerships with firms like DBAplatform, Google, and Lynkem really do require real-time prices to work. Just showing inventory with a suggested retail price doesn't meet the minimum requirement for running product-based ads. Our direct integrations with Google and Lynkem need this price information to generate results for retailers.
Here's how retailers can add their real-time prices:
• Your Inventory Feed
Adding your prices to your Locally profile, Locally Pages, marketing tools, and even brand sites starts with adding one or two prices to your inventory feed. You can add Compare At Price (header = "compare_at_price_col") and Selling Price (header = "price_col") to your feed in adjacent columns. Or, if you use a direct connection between your cloud-based POS system, be sure to speak to your provider.
Here's how this affects you:
Retailers will see the first places to support real-time pricing be related to Switch-powered third party integrations like Google See-What's-In-Store and Lynkem ads on Instagram and Facebook. We will also be pushing real-time prices through to Sync-Locally and their Shopify integration. Subsequently, prices will be reflected in the shopper's cart prior to checkout and then ultimately across the 1000+ sites we power.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the nature of the way retailer prices will be displayed to shoppers, Locally will only allow stores that accept Buy It Locally (BIL) transaction to participate. If you would like to learn more about Buy It Locally or sign up, visit Sell > Retailer Services above -or- reach out to your Locally rep.
• Brand Partners
Locally brand partners will still maintain final say over many of the ways that prices are presented to shoppers. While some brands have specifically asked for real-time local prices to be displayed on the brand's web properties, many others will still only facilitate sales on their sites (via Locally integrations) to occur at suggested retail. More information about how prices will be handled in different circumstances will be updated from within your Locally FAQ pages.
• Non-Brand Partners
Brands whose products appear on Locally through uploaded product content from retailers or third parties will not have influence over retailer pricing. But, by adding your catalog information, you will enable your products to appear in circumstances where a retailer is NOT sending real-time prices and Locally cannot present the product to shoppers at all.