Consumers who search for a product on Google get shopping options that quickly allow them to drill down and find the cheapest prices. (Bad Google!) But often consumers are after there-and-then availability and are willing to schlepp across town to get their item from a brick-and-mortar store. Working out which stores have availability has often involved the old-school method of ringing around to find out which retailers have actual product. Not any more – Google's “See What’s In Store” feature shows live availability of searched-for products in a locality.
And one of the easiest ways for retailers to populate this feature is with Pointy, an Irish gizmo that is being trialled by a number of UK bike shops. Some have yet to load product, others have loaded plenty. Those trialling the service include Activ of Folkestone, Mamachari of Dalston, Moose Cycles of London, Twenty3c of Stony Statford and Mountain Mania of Didcot. The stores all have pages on Pointy.com, where their products are uploaded, and this syncs with Google's See What's In Store feature.
Pointy provides retailers with a small telecoms unit that plugs into the shop's ePOS system or till. The shop's existing handheld scanner is then used to input products via barcode data.
"I like the idea of it," Twenty3c's founder Ceri Dipple told BikeBiz. "The geek in me loves the tech side of it. Install is as easy as they claim so there isn’t a huge amount of work involved from a retailer perspective."
Greg Freeman of Moose Cycles added: "It works seamlessly to get anything on the site. Trouble is as with all things online, unless you are the cheapest, or near to cheapest or have something that no one else has you're only going to get the distressed purchase from it."
Pointy charges £349 for the hardware, with a small subscription service should the retailer want to plug into AdWords to gain greater visibility on Google.
Retailers can display live inventory information on the Google search page for their store. "Just link your Pointy account to Google with a few clicks, and your products will appear in the Google Knowledge Panel and via Google Maps," says the company, which is based in Dublin, Ireland, but is selling globally. The company was founded by Charles Bibby and Mark Cummins, who co-founded Plink, a visual search engine company acquired by Google in 2010.
Pointy recently secured a $12 million round of Series B funding led by Polaris Partners with Vulcan Capital participating having previously raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Frontline Ventures.