Remember when finding the best deal on a product involved driving or calling around? Then came the World Wide Web, and we could check a major retailer’s Web site for specials. If we were lucky, a local store would honor the online advertising. We also cut coupons from pubications and took them in to our neighborhood retailers and hoped they were “participating locations.”
Now we can run the gauntlet in reverse, perhaps with shortcuts. Cross Media Services rolled out a local shopping service, shopLocal.com, that enables you to start with your address or ZIP code, set the distance you are willing to tavel, then shop by stores, categories of products, even specific brands! The products are presented with sale information and a map with driving directions to a particular store. Another option allows the shopper to see other store locations.
Perhaps best of all, the Web site allows visitors to build and print out a shopping list with the customized information included. For the truly daring, you can give them your e-mail address, and the merchandisers will send you alerts about their sales.
To be certain this service was not restricted to urban areas with multiple outlets and good transportation, I searched with my 86-year-old mother’s ZIP code in a rural area of the Midwest. The information provided was accurate. I could even spot Mother’s house on the map to her nearest drug store. Now, if I could only get Mother to use a computer!