Pointy has developed a piece of hardware called the Pointy Box that connects to a store’s barcode reader to automatically scan every item in store and list them online, creating a bridge between the store’s physical location and online presence. The listings are optimised for search engines to make it easier for local customers to find nearby retailers.
According to the company, more than 90% of retail spending is still through local retailers in the US but these smaller merchants are struggling to keep up with ecommerce. Pointy’s hardware is being used in 48 states across the US, it said. The company has an office in New York to serve this market.
Running a physical store is a full-time endeavour that can leave a store’s online shopping presence lacking said Mark Cummins, CEO.
“[C]onsumers increasingly expect to find everything on their smartphones,” he explained. “If someone takes out their phone to search for a product they want to buy, they’re likely to see a result from Amazon, even if a local store 50 feet away has the product in stock. It’s a frustrating for retailers and consumers alike.”
“After the Pointy box is plugged in we do all the work of sourcing product information and optimizing the retailer websites for search engines. It really makes it effortless,” added Charless Bibby, CTO.
“There is a clear consumer desire to search products available in local stores but today it's not possible,” said Will Prendergast, partner at Frontline Ventures.
Pointy previously raised $1.2 million and was founded by Bibbins and Cummins while studying for their robotics PhDs in Oxford, the latter is the cofounder of Google-acquired Plink.