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Shopping search site Krillion announced today that it will launch a new feature that includes inventory data for its top retailers. The feature, known as StockCheck, will launch initially in its flat screen television category.

Based on the same logic that drives Krillion’s consumer value proposition, the thought is that most conversions happen offline (especially for high consideration items like appliances and flat screens), while an increasing amount of research is being done online.

The new feature brings this to the next logical step. Backing this up, CEO Joel Toledano in a conversation last week cited success metrics for some retailers that have already integrated inventory data, and buy online/pick up in store options. This includes Circuit City, which has 50 percent of its online purchases (accounting for $500 million in sales last year) reserved and picked up in stores, and Wal-Mart, which has about 30 percent of its online purchases picked up. (See recent NYTimes piece).

This also gets customers into stores to buy complementary products, which has led to larger average purchases per customer with these offline pickups, when compared to Web only (delivered) purchases. Specifically, Circuit City pickups averaged $154 more than e-commerce purchases, while Wal-Mart store pickups averaged $60 more than online only.

Closing the Loop

With StockCheck, Krillion will jump on this opportunity — driven partly by the demand to avoid shipping costs — while having the additional appeal of being a one-stop shop for lots of retailers. The hope is that this will make it easier for users to reserve items they want; more attractive to advertisers (more conversions is the idea); and better for Krillion’s ability to close the loop on the traditionally challenging lead tracking from online research and search to offline conversion.

Along these lines it will employ a CPA revenue model where it will get a 3 percent to 5.5 percent commission on purchases (rather than clicks). Toledano claims retailers will be more than willing to pay this for sales: “Retailers are very willing to pay through the nose for completed sales,” he says.

This will most likely come down to a question of whether retailers will perceive these sales/online reservations as incremental to their own online efforts, or overlapping. We’ll have to wait to see the data, or any lift in sales and, more importantly, how well this resonates with retailers as Toledano says it will.

Joining the Pack

This joins similar features in other horizontal segments by StepUp, ShopLocal and NearbyNow. By horizontal, I mean Krillion plays in high-consideration appliances and consumer electronics, while StepUp plays in the SMB segment, ShopLocal in big box, and NearbyNow in shopping mall retailers.

This makes StockCheck more supportive of these other offerings — pushing the medium forward, and users’ knowledge of it — rather than competitive. It could be a powerful tool and we’ll watch closely to see where it goes. Although like many other things, utility for users and value for advertisers (or perception thereof) will need to be proven.

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