Malls now Internet searchable

Published 12:41 am Monday, December 3, 2007

MERIDIAN (AP) — New technology is allowing shoppers to find out about product availability or the latest sale items at Bonita Lakes Mall in Meridian and Turtle Creek Mall in Hattiesburg without ever leaving home.

A service offered by NearbyNow Inc., which provides Internet and mobile search technology for shopping centers and retailers, makes it possible.

The service allows consumers to find any product, brand or sale available in the mall using the Internet or mobile phones. It’s thought to be the first time such technology has been offered in Mississippi.

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Consumers can visit the mall’s Web sites from home. Or shoppers already in the mall can use their cell phone to locate products and sales by texting the letters ‘‘TU’’ for Turtle Creek Mall and ‘‘BL’’ for Bonita Lakes Mall to NEARBY (632729).

‘‘NearbyNows local search service is focused on making shopping as convenient as possible,’’ said Scott Dunlap, CEO of NearbyNow Inc. ‘‘Its an innovative way to help shoppers know which retailers have the products they want, then ensure their desired product is waiting for them when they get there.’’

The technology allows shoppers to search through thousands of products and check inventory availability. NearbyNow gets updated inventory data from each store at the mall on average every two days.

Shoppers can also select ‘‘reserve this product’’ to put an item on hold.

The search service is free to consumers and is supported by advertisements. The company was founded in 2005 and now has serves some 192 locations across the country.