A Magazine's Effect on Search Traffic Inspires an iPhone App

NearbyNow and Lucky Team Up for Mobile Shopping Tool

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The Super Bowl continues to show how offline media can influence online behavior -- just look at all the Twitter chatter, blog buzz and video views that can be attributed to the big game. And the smart marketers, media companies and technology vendors are the ones figuring out how to make it all work together. Here's one clever example.

When 2-and-a-half-year-old start-up NearbyNow noticed demand for women's clothing and accessories spiked up without fail around the eighth to the 10th day of each month, it decided to investigate. After some research, it zeroed in on the trigger: Lucky magazine.

NearbyNow is in the online business of locating the closest retail outlet that stocks merchandise shoppers are searching for -- anything from a snowman cookie jar on Oprah's favorite list to a Prada bag. It locates the things you want based on your search query of a product with a specific location. It's a concierge service of sorts and even has a call center that makes sure the item you want is in stock at the store and then confirms it's there, or not there, via e-mail.

When the shopping magazine, which catalogs the latest clothing, shoes, handbags, sunglasses and makeup, hits the newsstands, queries go up. Way up. (Yes, it turns out the youth still read print.)

So Scott Dunlap, president-CEO of NearbyNow, took his findings to Lucky several months ago and struck a partnership with the Conde Nast-owned title. Now the two are set to launch an iPhone application that brings the geo-locating concierge service to the mobile handset. Every product featured in the magazine will have a corollary in the iPhone app, which means iPhone-toting fashionistas can dial into the Lucky app and see if their nearby retail outlet has their object of their desire in stock, in their size and in the color that matches their favorite nail color.

If a user is in luck, she will get an alert directing her to the nearest retail outlet; a call-center rep can even verify that the desired product is in stock and put it on hold for the user. Once at the store, shoppers can try everything on for size. Mr. Dunlap said the pick-up rate averages 75%, with jewelry and shoes ranking as the categories most likely to be picked up.

Of course, like with the magazine itself, Lucky will integrate advertisers into the app. NearbyNow gets paid by the stores and malls to which it drives traffic, the same model it uses for its online service.

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