I do a lot of shopping online and many times I use my mobile phone or my laptop to see if a product is available at a store. Best-Buy for instance has Buy Online and Pick-Up in store. To me this plays right into the instant gratification we humans are adopting more and more – yeah that is probably a bad thing but oh well.
I actually used this during Christmas because a present was back-ordered and I got notified about a week before Christmas the item was no longer for sale. I then used the Best-Buy site and found that a store near me in Syracuse actually had the item. I was able to transfer the order to a Pick-Up In store order very quickly.
To me, this is a must have on any site that has traditional brick and mortar stores. This would clearly be a benefit to keeping some stores around for these large retailers.
Now, if only every online store out there had the business to business (B2B) visibility into their brick and mortar stores then this would essentially be a commodity feature.