Starting today, Google users will see two new links on search-results pages for product searches: stores nearby and an inventory update, which will advise shoppers if a product is in stock, in limited quantities, or out of stock. A click on an individual product page will also return a list of nearby stores that carry that product with an embedded Google Map for obtaining directions.
This is quite an adventurous step. I once worked on a project of maintaining and accurate digital record of inventory levels for a business. The challenges were astounding. So I know it is not an easy proposition to keep accurate records of inventory levels.
I recently wanted to buy 7 copies of a book from Amazon. Each one was going to a different address so this involved seven separate purchases. Amazon's automated inventory (one of the best there is, especially at their volume) began by telling me there were only 5 copies in stock.
Each purchase decremented the inventory by 1 until I made the fifth order. Then, somehow or other, there were an additional 2 shown as in stock. I'm glad I didn't believe those early reports!
So in the beginning, at least, I do expect this Google inventory check to be a bit buggy. However, with Caffeine in place, they probably will be able to stay a lot closer to present time than if they had tried this last winter on Big Daddy.
I hated keeping track of inventory when I did it... If you don't stay organized and on top of it you have to keep redoing it all the time and there is nothing more disappointing then have to refund someone on their purchase because your inventory was wrong... One of the main reasons I switched to affiliate sales...
In hindsight however I think my old business would be thriving currently while the one I tradaed it for is dead...