SOURCE: NearbyNow

January 10, 2008 09:00 ET

Nintendo Wii, Ugg Boots and Cookie Jars Rate as the Most Popular Holiday 2007 Products at Shopping Malls

NearbyNow Releases Top 10 Most Reserved Products at Malls in 130+ Cities, Reduces Peak Season Call Volumes for Retailers

LOS ALTOS, CA--(Marketwire - January 10, 2008) - NearbyNow, the online service that allows consumers throughout the United States to search inventory at stores in their local shopping mall and reserve items to pick up, today announced the "Top 10" Most Reserved Products for the 2007 holiday season. The "Top 10" list is based on millions of shoppers who searched online before buying in-store in November and December 2007, and the tens of thousands of items they requested to pick up at over 22,000 stores in nearly 200 malls using the NearbyNow service. The results also show how "hot products" that sell out well before Christmas can be an immense burden to retailers without services like NearbyNow to deflect phone inquires, reduce consumer exposure to long hold times, and communicate efficiently with consumers.

The Top 10 Most Reserved Products for the 2007 holiday season:

1)  Nintendo® Wii™
2)  Ugg® boots
3)  Other suede/faux suede boots
4)  Nintendo® DS™
5)  Guitar Hero® III
6)  Nike® Air Jordans
7)  Slatkin & Co. snowman cookie jar
8)  Reebok® NFL replica jerseys
9)  Be Glam™ mesh sneakers
10) Croc™ Footwear

"The Nintendo Wii was by far the hot product for 2007, having sold out at most retailers around November 16th," said Scott Dunlap, NearbyNow's chief executive officer. "Based on the unfulfilled demand at the 194 malls we power, there was nearly $2 million in lost sales on that product alone. Ugg Boots were also popular this year in many styles and colors, and we saw the 'Ugg factor' cross over to other stores as shoppers not finding what they wanted looked to similar styles."

Usually a "hot product" that sells out creates a nightmare scenario for retailers. Consumers frantically call retail outlets looking for available items, which in turn disrupts shoppers currently in the stores, creating unusually long hold times on the phone and wait times at the checkout counter. Not only are sales lost from not having inventory in stock, but the shopping experience is tainted for existing and potential customers. The customers' contact information is rarely captured for follow up, limiting opportunities for future sales. As more and more consumers are researching online to buy in-store (currently growing at 17% annually to over $1 trillion in 2012, according to "The Web's Impact On In-Store Sales: US Cross-Channel Sales Forecast, 2006 To 2012," Forrester Research, Inc. May 8, 2007), the pressure on local stores to field calls is expected to balloon.

The NearbyNow service alleviates the pressure from "hot products" by creating the ability for consumers to check inventory online without having to make a phone call to the store. Shoppers can access the service on the Web site of any NearbyNow-powered shopping mall, and reserve items from a number of participating retailers. Consumers are notified within 10 minutes via e-mail or text message if the item is available, and when it can be picked up. For retailers, this solves a significant number of pain points:

1)  If a product is known to be out of inventory, consumers are notified
    without any additional phone calls to the local store.

2)  Requests for similar products can be batched together, so one call
    from the NearbyNow concierge service can represent more than one
    shopper. Similarly, requests made after the store is closed can be
    addressed in one call when the store opens the next day.

3)  In all cases, contact information is captured for the interested
    shopper, so that they can be notified if and when the product becomes
    available. Retailers may also choose to offer consumers a credit, gift
    card, or refer a similar product. The important thing is that the
    consumer is not lost in the holiday madness.

During the 2007 holiday season, the NearbyNow service deflected tens of thousands of phone calls, reducing inquiries on hot products as much as 35-40% for key retailer partners.

"Contrary to early predictions, people are coming to recognize that e-commerce isn't where the Internet is having its greatest impact," said Greg Sterling, founder of Sterling Market Intelligence and senior analyst, Local Mobile Search. "Instead, the Internet is gaining increasing influence over local consumer purchase behavior, which is a much larger category."

About NearbyNow, Inc.

NearbyNow, Inc. provides a unique online service that allows consumers to search all products, brands, and sales currently available at local shopping centers using the Internet or mobile phones. Working with shopping centers and retailers across the United States, NearbyNow enables consumers to easily access local information both before and during their shopping trips. The company also creates an efficient marketing tool for retailers to target nearby consumers, helping to drive sales by turning online shoppers into in-store buyers. NearbyNow is headquartered in Los Altos, CA. Additional information can be obtained by phone at (650) 947-1300 or via the Web at www.nearbynow.com, or try our service at a shopping mall near you by texting to NEARBY (632729).

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