Local Corp. has released Havvit, a local-shopping app that leverages the Krillion data and infrastructure that it acquired a couple of years ago. The company intends the app to be a stand-alone consumer experience as well as a “showcase” of what can be done with its data.
I found Havvit overall to be a well designed and visually appealing app, though less complete in several respects than Find&Save. The latter is cross platform and has additional features not present in Havvit. However the two are not strictly competitors, Local/Krillion could supply data to Find&Save.
Like Find&Save, Havvit can be customized (follow stores and product categories) and equally supports e-commerce. In addition it has a useful product price-tracking capability not present in Find&Save. But like Find&Save, Havvit doesn’t have product reviews. Krillion product lead (former Krillion CEO) Sherry Thomas-Zon says that reviews are definitely on the roadmap.
Local Corp has seen several promising products not work out. For example rich-media ad platform Rovion was acquired and roughly a year later sold to Gannett. Similarly the company sold its Spreebird deals product earlier this year.
I believe Krillion and its data are a different story, however. The advent of mobile shopping and the use of smartphones in stores makes Havvit and the underlying product data/technology immensely more valuable to Local Corp and its partners.
The company has a publisher ad network and it could easily syndicate these local product data to that network and well beyond, via an API. The company describes the Krillion platform “data as a service.” In the past some Krillion partners (e.g., the old Superpages) have not known what to do with local product data on their PC sites. With mobile and new consumer behaviors it’s self evident.
Sherry Thomas-Zon told me yesterday on the phone that, since the acquisition, Krillion has worked very hard to improve the quality, accuracy and real-time nature of the data through a combination of retailer feeds, manufacturer data and enhanced web crawling. She also was especially pleased about the accuracy of Krillion’s product pricing data, which was updated daily if not more frequently.
In the local shopping/real-time product inventory segment Krillion is something of a survivor (although now part of Local). NearbyNow, Milo, ShopLocal and several others were present but are essentially now gone from the market.
Gannett’s ShopLocal pivoted and there’s little evidence of NearbyNow’s or Milo’s continued post-acquisition vitality. Now in this space are Find&Save, Retailigence and Goodzer. Google has also been in the “real-time inventory” market for some time but only in a limited way (now in doubt post PLA). Then there are a host of local coupon providers, which operate in a similar but adjacent segment.
It’s amazing how long it has taken for retailers to “get on board” with real-time inventory (and participation is uneven). But the time is finally right for these local inventory apps and services.