British startup NearSt has partnered with Google to match customers to products in their local high street.
Founders Max, Thomas and Nick founded NearSt in 2015 with the principal mission to get people back onto UK high streets. They commented: “We believe that shopping from real shops should be easier and faster than buying online.
“That’s why we’ve dedicated all our energy for the past years to connecting the products in thousands of local shops to the millions of shoppers looking for them.”
Max and Nick said that almost a third of all Google searches are location based, and more than 80% of all retail spending still happens in bricks-and-mortar stores.
NearSt’s technology allows local shops to list live in-store inventories, so that customers can search for what they want and check price and availability before they go to the store in person.
It has fully automated shop pages for locals to browse shelves in nearby shops, or users can search hundreds of shops in one area with the NearSt Cities function. With NearSt London, customers can look up which shops offer instant collection or 1-hour delivery.
It works using the company’s NearLive technology, which extracts Real-Time Local Inventory data. The more shops that join the system, the more valuable it becomes for all signed up shops and their customers.
At present, the NearSt website has its own section for stationery, including a sub-section titled Gifts for Stationery Lovers, which allow users to browse the latest available products and deals near where they live or work. The bookselling industry is also set to benefit, with around 60 book stores signed up so far.
Google’s global head of local shopping, Nathalie Walton, said: “It gives small retailers the ability to compete effectively in the online world, without needing any of the technical and financial firepower of their online competitors.”
NearSt has so far raised £1.3m from several high-profile investors, and the company has ambitions to raise a further £2m to expand in the UK and to trial its technology in the US.