Those innovative engineers over at Google are at it again. This time they are bringing the power of Froogle to the palm of your hand. Froogle Mobile launched yesterday and is now available on phones that support WML (WAP 1.2). How does this launch impact you?

That depends on if you are a shopper or a seller.

If you are a shopper, the answer is obvious. You can use your phone to spot check prices while standing in the aisle of a store wondering if you should buy it. Just last month I was out shopping for a new laptop backpack that would also fit a day's worth of clothes (because the airlines have a 50% loss record with my luggage) before I headed out to San Jose for SES. Like most people, I did my research online, narrowed it down to a few options, then headed off to a brick and mortar store to view the bags for myself before making a purchase.

The problem was, I forgot to write down the shipping prices, so once I got to the store, I couldn't figure out if I was getting a better deal at Best Buy or from eBags. I ended up deciding which bag I wanted, but waiting until I got home to check prices. (hey, I'm cheap, what can I say?) Sure enough, even with shipping, I found a better deal online. I placed my order and walked away happy.

Now, if I was using the new Froogle Mobile, I might have discovered that the price difference was negligible and that I should just walk out the door with my new purchase. Even better, I might have found out that Office Max, which was right next door, had the bag for less. As a searcher, that's one nifty tool.

Let's start this journey over again and say that I'm a seller. If I'm a brick and mortar shop, Froogle Mobile might not be the best thing going for me, unless I'm confident that my prices are the lowest. Do I really want someone to walk into my store, select and item, and then decide at the last second that they can get it cheaper online? Not good at all.

On the other hand, let's say that you are a brick and mortar retailer that does have great prices. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be the shop next door with the lower price when someone turns to Froogle Mobile for advice?

I'd challenge you to get even more innovative than that. Where I live, it's not uncommon for a grocery store to announce that they'll match a competitors price. Why not do the same? Leave your prices as are, but post a notice saying that you'll match any competitors price. Including one that they show you with their cell phone from Froogle Mobile.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
August 17, 2005

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > Froogle Mobile Might Shake Up Your Business