FreshPatents.com Logo
stats FreshPatents Stats
1 views for this patent on FreshPatents.com
2012: 1 views
Updated: August 11 2014
newTOP 200 Companies filing patents this week


    Free Services  

  • MONITOR KEYWORDS
  • Enter keywords & we'll notify you when a new patent matches your request (weekly update).

  • ORGANIZER
  • Save & organize patents so you can view them later.

  • RSS rss
  • Create custom RSS feeds. Track keywords without receiving email.

  • ARCHIVE
  • View the last few months of your Keyword emails.

  • COMPANY DIRECTORY
  • Patents sorted by company.

Follow us on Twitter
twitter icon@FreshPatents

System for providing localized shopping information

last patentdownload pdfimage previewnext patent


Title: System for providing localized shopping information.
Abstract: A localization service is provided that provides users with online information on local retailers that sell particular products. A user can perform a search using a web page associated with the localization service or by searching using an internet search engine. The user's search includes a search origin. The search origin may be defined in terms of location information such as a place name or a postal code. A search for a particular product at local retailers may be made using search parameters such as search origins, product names, model numbers, product categories, and product attributes. The localization service may provide the user with search results in the form of web pages that list which retailers sell the desired product in the vicinity of the search origin. A targeted advertisement server at the localization service may use display criteria to determine which targeted advertisements should be displayed for the user. ...


Browse recent Local.com patents - Irvine, CA, US
Inventors: Roger B. Spreen, Michael S. Robertson, Michael J. Van Riper, James J. Ryan
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120010998 - Class: 705 1454 (USPTO) - 01/12/12 - Class 705 


view organizer monitor keywords


The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120010998, System for providing localized shopping information.

last patentpdficondownload pdfimage previewnext patent

BACKGROUND

This invention relates generally to computer systems, and more particularly, to systems that assist users in locating products of interest at local retailers.

Web-based shopping comparison services are available that allow users to compare product prices at online retailers. In a typical scenario, a user browses to a shopping comparison service home page and initiates a search for a product of interest. The user can enter a product\'s model number or more general information such as a desired type of product. The shopping comparison service identifies online retailers that carry suitable products. The user is generally presented with a web page containing a list of prices for the product of interest and a list of associated online retailers at which the product is available. Web pages such as these are often indexed by internet search engines.

Online shopping comparison services are helpful when users are interested in purchasing products online, but do not assist a user who is interested in purchasing a product at a brick and mortar store. The online retailers that are located may not even have brick and mortar establishments, let alone establishments that are in the user\'s vicinity.

A user who wants to locate a local retailer who sells a product of interest may therefore turn to an online directory service. With an online directory service, a user can locate retailers who sell certain types of products by performing a directory search. For example, a user who is interested in purchasing a particular model of television set can attempt to locate local electronics dealers by performing a search using the search term “electronics.” However, online directory services are not able to provide pricing or availability information for particular products.

It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide improved local shopping information online.

SUMMARY

In accordance with the present invention, an online localization service is provided that provides users with information on which local retailers sell particular products.

A user with a web browser may perform a search for a product and location of interest using an Internet search engine or using a query engine associated with the localization service. The location of interest, which is sometimes referred to as a search origin, may be defined by a place name (e.g., the user\'s city), a zip code, or other geographic terms. The product of interest may be defined using product terms such as a product name, a product model number, a product category, etc.

The user may be provided with search results that match the user\'s search parameters. The search results may include a list of universal resource locators, each of which corresponds to a web page associated with the localization service. When the user clicks on a desired universal resource locator, the universal resource locator and its embedded user search parameters are provided to the localization service.

The localization service has databases. The localization service may extract the search parameters from the universal resource locator when the localization service receives the universal resource locator from the user over the internet. A page generation engine may use information in the databases and the extracted search parameters to dynamically generate a web page for the user. The web page may include a list of which retailers in the vicinity of the search origin carry the product for which the user is searching. Web pages such as these may contain pricing information, information on how far each retailer is from the search origin, product images and other product information, and promotional information.

The localization service may have an advertisement server that applies display criteria such as location-based display criteria to the search parameters that are received from the user. The search parameters and display criteria may be used to determine which targeted advertisements are to be displayed for the user.

Further features of the invention, its nature and various advantages will be more apparent from the accompanying drawings and the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram of an illustrative system for a localization service that can be used to provide information on locally available products to interested users in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 show illustrative product detail pages that may be displayed to a user by a localization service in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows an illustrative product category page that may be displayed for a user by a localization service in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 shows an illustrative store detail page that may be displayed for a user by a localization service in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram of illustrative databases that may be used by a localization service in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a flow chart of illustrative steps involved in establishing and maintaining databases for a localization service in a system of the type shown in FIG. 1 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a flow chart of illustrative steps involved in using a localization service to provide users with information on locally available products in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 10 and 11 contain a flow chart of illustrative steps involved in using a page generation engine to provide a user with pages such as a store detail page, product detail page, and product category page in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to computer-implemented methods for providing users with online information on locally available products. An illustrative system 10 for providing users with localized online product information is shown in FIG. 1.

The entities of FIG. 1 may have associated computing equipment. The computing equipment that is used by the various entities of FIG. 1 may be based on one or more personal computers, workstations, mainframe computers, networks of such computers, or any other suitable computing equipment.

The computing equipment may be interconnected by communications network 18. Network 18 may include local area networks, wide area networks such as the internet, or any other suitable communications networks.

Brick and mortar retailers 12 (companies with physical stores) have physical stores in which they offer products for sale. Customers may visit the physical stores of retailers 12 and may browse for merchandise. Retailers 12 may also have an online presence, but the present discussion will generally focus on the brick and mortar aspects (physical presence aspects) of each retailer\'s business.

The products that retailers 12 offer for sale are generally manufactured by manufacturers 16. Manufacturers 16 include companies that fabricate products from raw materials, companies that assemble products from the parts made by other companies, subsidiaries of larger companies (e.g., subsidiaries that are associated with different brand names), etc.

Users 24 have software on their computing equipment such as web browsers 26. Web browsers 26 may be used to access web pages from services such as internet search engine 20 and localization service 28 over communications network 18.

Localization service 28 may have one or more databases 34 that may be used to dynamically generate web pages for users 24 with web browsers 26. The information that is stored in databases 34 may be made accessible to search engines such as search engine 20. This allows search engine web crawlers to examine and index the content stored in databases 34. One way to ensure that the web pages of localization service 28 are crawlable by search engine web crawlers is to embed crawlable links in the web pages. By ensuring that most or all of the dynamically generated web pages from databases 34 are linked to each other with crawlable hypertext markup language (HTML) links, the content of databases 34 may be made available to users who perform searches using internet search engines such as internet search engine 20.

The content of databases 34 may also be made available to users 24 over communications network 18 using page generation engine 36.

The information in database 34 may be obtained from retailers 12, manufactures 16, geocoding sources 22, and other suitable sources. This information may be acquired by localization service 28 over communications network 18 using data acquisition engine 32. For example, data acquisition engine 32 may access information that has been stored in databases 14 by retailers 12 and information that has been stored in databases 44 by manufacturers 16. Entities such as retailers 12 and manufacturers 16 may also push information to localization service 28. For example, a retailer or manufacturer may store information in databases 34 using promotional console 30. With one suitable arrangement, promotional console 30 may be provided in the form of a web-based interface. A retailer or manufacturer can log into the promotional console 30 to upload information such as lists of retail stores, store addresses, store hours, store coupons and other promotions, manufacturer coupons and other promotions, product information such as product features, product specifications, product images, product manuals, etc.

Data enrichment engine 38 may process the data that has been acquired using data acquisition engine 32 (and, if desired, the data that has been provided using promotional console 30). For example, data enrichment engine 38 may consult one or more geocoding services 22 when processing data 34. Geocoding services 22 may be used to identify a particular geocode (e.g., a longitude and latitude) corresponding to a retail location. By consulting multiple services such as services 22, data enrichment engine 38 can eliminate redundant information such as duplicate store locations and can otherwise improve data accuracy.

Localization service 28 may act as a web server for users 24 who are browsing the internet with web browsers 26. Because the content of database 34 is preferably indexed by internet search engines, a user who performs a web search using an internet search engine will generally be provided with search results in the form of a list of web pages that contain local product information from database 34. In a typical scenario, a user might type in a search such as “Sony KDL-46XBR3 Television San Francisco” in an attempt to locate information on retailers selling a particular model of television in the vicinity of San Francisco. The web pages that the search engine identifies in its search results correspond to web pages generated by page generation engine 36 based on information in databases 34.

Localization service 28 can also serve as a web server that makes a home page available to users 24. The home page (or other suitable web site page) may contain an option that allows a user to create or edit a customized search origin. The search origin typically corresponds to the geographic location of the user\'s home or business or to an area in which the user might want to shop. In a typical scenario, a user might click on a link entitled “change location.” When the user clicks on the change location option, service 28 may provide the user with an opportunity to enter a desired search origin. The search origin may be supplied in the form of a place name (e.g., San Francisco) or may be provided using other techniques (e.g., using a zip code).

The home page may also contain a search box into which a user can enter a product name or category. As an example, a user may type the name of a particular television model into the search box. Once the user has supplied a search origin and has typed other search parameters into the box provided by localization service 28, the user may click on a search button. In response, the user\'s browser 26 may supply localization service 28 with the search parameters over communications network 18.

Query engine 40 may be used to perform a database search on databases 34 using the search parameters. The results of searching database 34 for local product availability may be provided to users 24 in the form of web pages. If desired, promotional information may be provided on the web pages. With one suitable arrangement, some or all of the search terms that are used in searching databases 34 may be used in targeting advertisements for the user. The targeted advertisements may be provided by advertisement server 42.

Using localization service 28, users can obtain accurate information on which local retailers carry a particular product. The web pages that localization service 28 provides to the users also contain pertinent information such as product prices, store locations, the distance between the search origin and each retailer, the lowest price available at any store within a particular distance from the search origin, special sales or other promotions that are available, etc. Any suitable web page format may be used to present search results to a user.

With one suitable arrangement, which is described as an example, localization service 28 and page generation engine 36 may provide at least three types of web pages: product detail pages, product category pages, and store detail pages. These are merely illustrative web pages that the system of FIG. 1 may provide to a user. Any suitable web page format may be used to present the information from databases 34 to users 24 if desired. Moreover, the use of web pages and web browsers 26 as the delivery mechanism for this information is presented as an example. Customized server and client software that does not use web browsers may be used in place of web browsers. An advantage of using web browsers 26 and web pages as the format for delivering information from databases 34 to users 24 is that web browsers are widely available.

When a user performs a search for a desired product using internet search engine 20 or query engine 40 of localization service 28, the user is provided with search results. An internet search engine typically provides results in the form of a web page containing a list of universal resource locators (URLs) corresponding to web pages of localization service 28. A user can click on one of the listed URLs (also called links) to obtain access to the desired web page.

When a user provides search parameters to localization service 28 (e.g., by typing desired search terms into a search box on a web page associated with localization service 28), localization service 28 may use query engine 40 to perform a search on databases 34.

If localization service 28 detects that a user\'s search has resulted in a particularly close match (i.e., where there is only one retailer that sells a given product in the user\'s vicinity), localization service 28 can automatically present a user with a web page containing details on the matching retailer. In this situation the search results may be presented as a single web page.

If multiple retailers match the user\'s search parameters, the localization service may provide a web page containing a list of the matching retailers. The matching retailers may be listed in any suitable order. For example, the retailers may be listed in order of their distance from the search origin, in order of their price for a desired product, etc. Localization service 28 may charge a fee to particular retailers in return for preferential treatment in the list (e.g., highlighting or listing at the top of the list in a sponsored results region).

An illustrative product detail page that may be provided to a user in response to a search for local retailers carrying a desired product is shown in FIG. 2. As shown in FIG. 2, product detail screen 46 may include a product name 50. The product name may include a model number, a brand, and other identifying information. Page 46 may also include other product information 48 such as one or more product images, video clips of a product, links to product manuals, specifications, features, product descriptions, product reviews, etc. Promotional information such as one or more targeted advertisements may be displayed if desired. A targeted advertisement such as targeted advertisement 52 may include text, graphics, images, audio, and video (e.g., video including audio) or any suitable combination of such media. The media content for targeted advertisement 52 may be provided to a user over communications network 18 using advertisement server 42 (FIG. 1).

In the example of FIG. 2, a user has performed a search for the product “Maytag XYZ123.” One or more retailers that carry this product may be listed in list 56. Descriptive heading 54 informs the user that the retailers in the list have matched the user\'s search parameters. Heading 54 may include information on the search origin 66 that is being used (e.g., “Mountain View”).

Each entry in list 56 may include a retailer name and address 58, a product price 60, and a distance 62. The name and address of each retailer may include contact information such as telephone numbers, email addresses, and web site addresses. The price 60 that is listed next to the retailer\'s name and address corresponds the unique price at which that particular retail store is offering the “Maytag XYZ123” product. The distance 62 that is presented to the user corresponds to the distance between that retail store and the user\'s search origin.

In the example of FIG. 2, the entries in list 56 have been organized according to the distance of each retailer from the user\'s search origin. This is merely illustrative. The search results on page 46 may be organized according to any suitable criteria. For example, the retailers may be listed alphabetically, randomly, based on descending price, based on ascending price, based on whether the product is currently in stock, etc. The user may be provided with clickable options that allow the user to reorder the search results. For example, a user may initially be presented with a page in which retailers are listed according to their distance from the user\'s search origin. If a user clicks on a “list by price” option, the list may be reordered so that the retailers are listed according to descending price for the desired product.

The number of entries in list 56 may be limited by a given search radius or other geographic limitation. The search radius may be 25 miles by default (or other suitable distance) and may be modified by the user. Information such as a user\'s search origin, desired search radius, and other personal information may be stored on localization service 28 (e.g., under a user account) or may be maintained locally on user computing equipment 24 (e.g., using cookies—small amounts of data that a user\'s browser can submit to a web server and that the web server can use to maintain specific information about the user).

Each entry in list 56 may have an associated clickable link (URL) 64. Once a user has decided which of the listed retailers is of interest, the user can click on the link 64 that is associated with that retailer to obtain more detailed information. With one suitable arrangement, the page generation engine 36 presents the user with a store detail page corresponding to the selected link.

The contents of list 56 depend on the search parameters that are used. In the example of FIG. 2, a search was performed for product “Maytag XYZ123” with a search origin of Mountain View 94041. Either the place name “Mountain View, Calif.” or the zip code “94041” may be used to define the search origin. The resulting list 56 includes retailers that carry the desired product (“Maytag XYZ123”) and that are in the vicinity of Mountain View, Calif.

As shown in FIG. 3, if a different search origin is used when searching for the same product, the contents of list 56 will change accordingly. In the FIG. 3 example, a search origin of Los Altos, Calif. has been used in place of the search origin of Mountain View California that was used in the FIG. 2 example. List 56 still includes retail stores that carry the Maytag XYZ123 product, but because the search origin is different, the list of stores has been updated to include stores that are in the vicinity of Los Altos rather than stores that are in the vicinity of Mountain View. There may be overlap between lists such as list 56 of FIG. 2 and list 56 of FIG. 3 when nearby search origins are used. If search origins are used that are relatively far apart, there may not be any overlap in the search results that are presented.

Another example is shown in FIG. 4. In the FIG. 4 example, the search origin has not been changed relative to the example of FIG. 3, but the product description has been changed. In the FIG. 3 example, the user searched for the product “Maytag XYZ123,” whereas in the FIG. 4 example, the user has searched for the product “Kitchen Aid ABCDEF.” As a result, list 56 in FIG. 4 includes those retailers near the user\'s search origin that sell the product “Kitchen Aid ABCDEF.” There may be overlap between list 56 of FIG. 3 and list 56 in FIG. 4 because many retailers may carry both the brand “Maytag” and the brand “Kitchen Aid.”



Download full PDF for full patent description/claims.

Advertise on FreshPatents.com - Rates & Info


You can also Monitor Keywords and Search for tracking patents relating to this System for providing localized shopping information patent application.
###
monitor keywords



Keyword Monitor How KEYWORD MONITOR works... a FREE service from FreshPatents
1. Sign up (takes 30 seconds). 2. Fill in the keywords to be monitored.
3. Each week you receive an email with patent applications related to your keywords.  
Start now! - Receive info on patent apps like System for providing localized shopping information or other areas of interest.
###


Previous Patent Application:
System and method for deriving income from url based context queries
Next Patent Application:
Paperless internet based advertising system and method of use
Industry Class:
Data processing: financial, business practice, management, or cost/price determination
Thank you for viewing the System for providing localized shopping information patent info.
- - - Apple patents, Boeing patents, Google patents, IBM patents, Jabil patents, Coca Cola patents, Motorola patents

Results in 0.67467 seconds


Other interesting Freshpatents.com categories:
Amazon , Microsoft , IBM , Boeing Facebook

###

Data source: patent applications published in the public domain by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Information published here is for research/educational purposes only. FreshPatents is not affiliated with the USPTO, assignee companies, inventors, law firms or other assignees. Patent applications, documents and images may contain trademarks of the respective companies/authors. FreshPatents is not responsible for the accuracy, validity or otherwise contents of these public document patent application filings. When possible a complete PDF is provided, however, in some cases the presented document/images is an abstract or sampling of the full patent application for display purposes. FreshPatents.com Terms/Support
-g2--0.7187
     SHARE
  
           

FreshNews promo


stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120010998 A1
Publish Date
01/12/2012
Document #
13238489
File Date
09/21/2011
USPTO Class
705 1454
Other USPTO Classes
705 2662
International Class
06Q30/00
Drawings
10



Follow us on Twitter
twitter icon@FreshPatents