This past weekend I went on one of my rare, real world shopping expeditions. I found myself standing in the housewares department of my local large department store. And I was annoyed.
I'd gone there in search of a new humidifier and for the life of me I couldn't figure out where the store kept them. Of course no staff were anywhere to be found, and there was no store directory or useful signage in view. I was about to lose it, and then I got one of my crazy ideas.
I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if I could simply Google this store and find out where they keep the humidifiers. You know, just whip out my hiptop, type in "humidifiers" and be guided to their exact location in the store. (Forget coupons, I just want to know where the damn things are!)
At first I dismissed my idea as Internet-centric foolishness. Of course you can't Google a bricks and mortar store.
Or can you?
I've started to mull the idea over a bit more. The leading retail stores already offer real-time inventory queries on their Websites. Handheld GPS units are available. Wireless Web devices are available. Plus there's Bluetooth.
This is doable.
What's the business model behind this? I don't know...yet. But I do know that I walked out of the department store frustrated and empty-handed because I couldn't Google the store. They lost a sale, and their brand dropped a notch in my books.
Google, are you listening?
P.S. In case you're wondering, I did end up buying a humidifier - from a store that had them on display right at the front entrance. Couldn't Google that store either, but in their case I didn't need to.
Domain name expert Bill Sweetman is the President & Lead Ninja of Name Ninja, a boutique domain name consulting firm that helps companies acquire, manage, protect, and profit from their domain names. Bill has provided strategic domain name advice to major companies around the world for over 20 years.
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