Those worried about whether the internet will kill the local retailers have either a positive sign or another reason to worry. Location-based shopping company Retailigence has announced its first round of developer applications. The apps use the Retailigence API to look for products in stock at local stores, by either keyword or barcode. Brick and mortar retailers have long feared similar technology, which could be used to find a better deal online, where there are not the same real estate costs. Retailigence hope to flip that for local retailers, making it easy for consumers to shop locally.
PricePad is one of the first round of apps to use Retailigence. The price comparison iPhone application shows both online and local results for a product. Scandit is a similar iPhone app, which also has a Scandit SDK for devs to create their own barcode scanner apps. A full list of current apps is available from Retailigence.
The Retailigence API currently gives developers access to two types of searches: numeric barcode and keywords. The barcode finds a specific product, while the keywords allows users to search for products by name or description. The real power of the API comes in when the search is given latitude and longitude coordinates. Results are returned for the nearest local businesses with the products in stock.
The API is free for developers, because the company hopes to make its money from retailers directly, according to Retailigence's Nitin Gupta. However, as it's still a new product, Retailigence is doing a bit of developer "hand-holding," to make sure it understands developer needs and can meet the demands of new applications. "Down the line we do see automating the API key access form but for now, we want to hand-hold it for a while longer," Gupta said.
If this sort of local product stock API is to succeed, the winner in the space will be the one who can create the largest network--both of developers and retailers. Right now, perhaps, Google leads with its recent local product announcements. However, the local features do not appear to be incorporated into the Google Shopping Search API.
Wishpond and its Wishpond API is another startup that appears to have a similar approach as Retailigence. However, Wishpond also has an iPhone app of its own, whereas Retailigence is taking a platform approach. Screenwerk has a run-down of other product inventory search companies.