Shopping online is usually lame for two reasons. You can’t inspect what you buy before you shell out cash, and you have to wait days to get your stuff.
That’s why roughly 95% of all retail sails are still made in brick-and-mortar buildings—a point that online price comparison site Milo.com is making with an infographic published today.
The company’s mission is to enable shoppers to “research online and buy local.” I can actually see this being one of the most useful startups I’ve reviewed in a long time. The company claims to have deep information on millions of products (“just like Amazon”), real-time inventory and sales information at nearly 50,000 stores, aggregated customer reviews and deals on shipping if you do decide to buy online.
So I gave it a test run. I still haven’t bought a blue tooth headset because of a sneaking suspicion I would be overpaying at the nearby Staples, and have been relying instead on the iPhone’s craptastic loudspeaker when in the car. I haven’t bought one online because I just can’t bring myself to shell out $5 shipping for a $30 product.
On Milo.com’s homepage, I entered “Bluetooth headset” and my zipcode, and my suspicions were confirmed—the Staples has a $20 Motorola, but exactly 4.9 miles away, Sears carries one for $14.99. Interestingly, the BestBuy across town carries the same model as Staples, but for $5 bucks more (scammers).
Turns out I'm not the only one who thinks this a great idea. Milo's
7 11-person team has raised about $5 million from an impressive cast of investors including Jeff Clavier, Aydin Senkut, Chris Dixon, SV Angel, and Mint.com founder Aaron Patzer (that infographic is straight out of Mint's playbook).