It’s hard enough for retailers. Harder still for third-parties like Krillion. ConsensusBest doesn’t (yet) include television recommendations. So, being in the market for a simple, standard TV, I checked out this service which aggregates online/offline retail information with Epinions.com-provided user reviews. We’ve written about them before, taking issue with their focus on the big national chains at the seeming exclusion of local mom-and-pops. Of course, they are a competitor, so read our thoughts with that in mind. That said, they have improved and doing deals with big retailers is much easier than lots of independent stores and regional chains, even if the service suffers somewhat for it.
Back to the real-time inventory issue.
In researching TVs, we saw a promising Sanyo model which Krillion marked as being in stock at Wal-Mart:
But when we clicked through to the Wal-Mart site for more information, we found this:
In fairness to Krillion, there were several other models I looked at where I clicked through to the retailers’ sites and found that Krillion’s inventory information matched up. But here’s an example of where it didn’t. And who knows if this is a Krillion issue or a Wal-Mart one? But the user experience is in Krillion’s hands until the customer completes a transaction.
We are constantly correcting for this kind of problem ourselves. Retailers and manufacturers often offer conflicting information about who carries what. That’s why we recommend that folks always call their local store before heading out for a shopping trip. Krillion helps on this front by providing a click-to-call service that lets you contact local stores through the web site.
As we’ve said, this is a problem for everyone in this space. There will always be hiccups. It’s nice to see that Krillion provides the convenient safety net of click-to-call.