A Method for Location-Based Comparison Shopping from the Click-and-Brick Stores
Original Publication Date: 2001-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
This invention presents a business method for user comparison shopping on price, or other user criteria, based on the user's location and the availability of products near the user's location. Background and motivation As commerce among dot-com merchants becomes more competitive, it becomes obvious that pure Internet based merchants will not survive unless they can offer their customer's a local presence. Those companies that have both web sites and local stores also known as click-and-brick companies are more likely to survive by providing both the Internet and traditional shopping. There are advantages for each shopping method: Internet shopping is convenient and allows easy searching and price comparison, while the local shopping avoids the sometimes costly shipping and handling charges and wait time for shipment arrival. Many traditional stores such as Best Buy, Sears, Wal-Mart, Circuit City, CompUSA, Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc. have all developed retail strategies which include both an Internet sales web site, and local retail stores. Their web sites all have information (address, direction, store hours, etc.) for their local retail locations. There is need for a user based shopping process that maximizes the user's shopping experience and value, by getting the best out of both shopping experiences: web site shopping, and local retailer shopping. Comparison shopping is a major benefit of on-line shopping that makes it much easier for shoppers to find the best deals. But the current comparison shopping web sites only cover on-line merchants. It is a natural extension for an Internet retailer to consider a local store front. This disclosure describes a method for location-based comparison shopping based on the information already available from the merchant web sites and their local store information. In essence, this disclosure extends the benefits of price comparison to local stores for click-and-brick merchants.