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How Bristol‘s Better Food has driven footfall from online organic food searches with NearSt

NearSt: driving footfall

Local health and organic stores are now better equipped to drive online shoppers in-store, by making their inventory visible on Google in real-time.

In a bid to maintain increased footfall witnessed by the sector during the pandemic,  CSY Retail Systems, a provider of EPOS systems for health stores and organic supermarkets in the UK,  has partnered with Google-backed retail technology firm NearSt.

NearSt’s software brings customers into bricks and mortar stores by showing the products stocked in local shops to people searching online nearby – making it more convenient to buy items locally than online.

Now integrated into CSY’s EPoS platform, this means that organic and health food stores can effortlessly connect their entire inventory to Google search in real time – showing local shoppers what they have stock in places like Google’s My Business Page, Google Shopping and Google Maps.

Some stores are already using NearSt, such as Bristol´s Better Food, and saw immediate results. With many shoppers searching for food and products locally during lockdown twinned with more people becoming interested in sustainability, the Better Food team knew there was high local demand for the wide array of ethical and organic products they stocked. 

However, the team were concerned that people who hadn’t previously visited their shops didn’t know they stocked the products they were looking for.

NearSt tech made an immediate impact: Better Food´s products were discovered by  222,728 local shoppers searching online, bringing an estimated 257 new customers to their stores. 

“NearSt has been a great way of introducing new customers and serving the local community through the pandemic, it was so easy to implement and a no brainer.” says  Matt Philpott, Marketing Manager at Better Food.

“2020 proved to be a bumper year for organic sales as locked-down shoppers flocked to the category,” explains Nick Brackenbury, CEO and co-founder of NearSt “With the organic market on track to reach £2.9BN by the end of 2021, this partnership will enable retailers in the sector to continue to ride that wave and create incremental growth through new customers.”

He continues: “While the surge in e-commerce sales has been widely acknowledged, what’s largely been overlooked is the even bigger surge in shoppers going online to hunt out products on nearby high streets.” We witnessed a seven-fold jump in local product searches in places like Google last year, with 2021 settling on four times the volume of pre-pandemic levels. Google also reported an 8,000% increase in searches for “who has ___ in stock” last year.”

He adds: “Everything works using the barcodes, stock levels, and pricing already stored in shops’ existing EPoS systems – so you literally set it and forget it. Pulling data automatically every few minutes NearSt creates high quality product listings, so you don’t need to spend dozens of hours manually entering product details.”

Notably, rather than giving platforms direct access to stores´stock data, NearSt acts as a guardian of the inventory and operates a public data ethics policy, only sending essential information to keep data secure. 

Ross Pierrepont Managing Director at  CSY Retail Systems adds: “When we met with NearSt, it seemed like a great solution to be able to offer our customers to boost footfall.  That is why we did the required development work and passed this onto our customers at no additional cost.  This has been borne out by the great results our customers are already seeing.”

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