With all the promise for mobile search, 2D bar codes, bar code scanning, etc. I thought I would share a personal experience today and my personal thoughts on where I think mobile search and product convergence will be an amazing step forward for consumers.
I have a large screen projection TV; the bulb blew out and I wanted to replace it. While I found many online places I could have purchased one and waited for delivery, I wanted to purchase one locally within a 25 mile radius. This was also an experiment of sorts. After making several phone calls and discovering that local stores were closed or do not stock bulbs or parts for TVs 2 or more years old I tried something different in my searching.
My initial Google searches and authorized repair store searches came up empty. The store I'll plug for free is Fry's Electronics. When I went to their site, my initial search by part number came up empty on both the TV model # and the bulb model # I was looking for. After doing a broad search on the site by TV brand, I stumbled upon the bulb # I was seeking.
Once I found the bulb, everything else was awesome; I was able to check for in-store pick-up before I jumped in my car.
Conclusion: Brick and mortar sites both on local search and internal search fail to deep link effectively for mobile local search. At the point in which brick and mortar stores have internal search that is deep enough for consumers to find parts or products easy, both desktop and mobile search will be limited in their effectiveness to help consumers find the products they are looking for via mobile device.
For mobile local search to be powerful for brick and mortar stores, they will need to make sure their products are deep linked on the web. A category level only web presence will not have maximum effectiveness for mobile local searches. Once brick and mortar stores allow their products and parts to show up on the web for local search based on a part number, zip code, sku, etc. they will start to realize the power of local search on mobile devices.
Read my 2nd product search on the same day...
This test was a pure mobile local search attempt.
My wife asked me to find a board game for her that she really liked. The name is fairly popular and should have produced at least one local result. Unfortunately, it did not. A mobile search for a game name, zip code and 2nd attempt based on game name and city resulted in zero useful results. i drove to three stores before I finally found the game I was looking for.
Conclusion: Local retailers, brick and mortar stores are missing out on the growing mobile search market, which is also helpful for desktop searchers. PubCon Dallas 2010 reported that Google attributes one-third of all mobile searches as local in nature. (I'll look for the actual report and post at a later date when I find it)
As consumers do more searching on their web enabled smart phones, savvy brick and mortar retailers can gain new customers by ensuring their products can be found on the web by mobile searchers.
Have you done a local search on your mobile phone for a product? Did you find it? Could not find it? Share your mobile search story with our visitors.