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Last week, we wrote about local product and inventory search provider NearbyNow (an extended write-up of the company is in this week’s Local Media Journal and coming tomorrow on the blog). A key part of NearbyNow’s model will be to provide coupons along with inventory data for local retailers. A week before that, Google partnered with ValPak to integrate coupons into local search (a feature article on this is also included in this week’s Local Media Journal, which published today). These join the growing field of coupon providers that have erstwhile included ShopLocal and ZiXXo.

Now a week after its biggest competitor jumped into the coupon pool, Yahoo! has begun to aggregate coupons. Search Engine Watch has the scoop.

As the majority of shopping happens offline (e-commerce represents only 2.5 percent of total U.S. retail spending), expect more online players to leverage their assets to drive offline purchases. Coupons also serve well as tracking tools to determine search activities that effectively influence offline conversions — traditionally a large challenge in local search. Coupons will increasingly have a strong influence on offline shopping behavior, driven in part by the integration of coupons and local search that are exemplified by these recent partnerships. Expect many more.

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