In a bid to boost footfall on local highstreets, Google-backed retail technology firm NearSt has partnered with leading cloud-based EPoS platform Cybertill, so stores can show their entire inventory to shoppers while they are out and about.
NearSt’s software was created in 2015 to use mobile to help bring 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 Cybertill’s RetailStore EPoS platform, shops can connect their entire inventory to Google search in real time – and switch it on and off at the touch of a button. The integration with Cybertill will automatically show in-store products in places like Google’s MyBusiness Page; Google Shopping and in Google Maps. This will allow shoppers to be able to see if a product they are searching for is close by and will direct them to their local high street.
Tripling in demand during 2020, NearSt’s software has proven to be a life-line for bricks and mortar retail during Covid as shoppers went online in unprecedented numbers to find out “what’s in stock nearby”.
“The surge in ecommerce sales has been widely acknowledged, but what’s been largely overlooked is the even bigger surge in shoppers going online to hunt out products on nearby high streets,” says Nick Brackenbury, CEO and co-founder NearSt. “We saw 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.
He continues: “Google also reported an 8,000% increase in searches for “who has ___ in stock” last year. This emerging consumer behaviour of searching and discovering products online to buy in nearby physical stores presents an exciting new opportunity for small and large retailers alike. Now, thanks to Cybertill, it makes it even simpler. Everything works using the barcodes, stock levels, and pricing already stored in your existing EPoS system – so you literally set it and forget it. Pulling data automatically every few minutes NearSt automatically creates high quality product listings, so you don’t need to spend dozens of hours manually entering product details.”
As physical retail opens up across the UK with more shoppers taking to the high street – NearSt believes now is the perfect time for bricks and mortar retailers to get in front of this online-first audience and let them know they have the products they’re looking for.
In January and February a Southampton-based Co-op Welcome convenience store began running NearSt’s technology. Products were seen in local search results 380,000 times, and over 4000 shoppers went on to seek out further information by clicking on the product, calling the shop, or getting directions to the store.
“This has driven over 550 customers in-store during January, February and March alone.” added Mr Brackenbury.
NearSt acts as a guardian of the inventory, and operates a public data ethics policy that ensures shops always remain in control of their data. Rather than giving platforms direct access to your stock data, NearSt acts as a buffer to keep you in control and only sends essential information to keep data secure.
Ian Tomlinson, CEO Cybertill adds: “Offering NearSt to the Cybertill network comes from a shared belief that there is a lot to win for physical stores in the quickly changing world of retail. Allowing shops to show their products to locals in Google is the perfect way to tap into the rapidly growing trend among shoppers of using Google to look for products in nearby stores.”