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Sunday 19 May 2019

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UK startup partners Google for local shop search

Written by Peter Walker
20/11/18

Google has partnered with UK startup NearSt to provide local stock updates and relevant retail information to its searches across the UK.

With almost a third of all Google searches relating to location and over 80 per cent of all retail spending still taking place in physical shops, NearSt stated that this deal will help the High Street redress the balance with e-commerce giants.

Consumers looking online for products will be now able to see available inventory in shops near them, along with distance, directions, price and availability – directly in the search results.

NearSt was founded three years ago by Max Kreijn and Nick Brackenbury, who had worked together developing digital experiences for big brands at a global agency.

The duo developed a technology that connects to any retailer’s point of sale system, extracts the rough inventory data and shows, in real time, which shop locally stocks what, and at what price.

The technology has enabled them to create the most detailed, extensive and live picture of what is available on the High Street. It also aligns with Google’s focus on adding more local product availability directly into search results, hence the partnership.

“NearSt has some fantastic technology which we are leveraging to make it as easy to shop locally as it is online,” says Nathalie Walton, global head of local shopping at Google Shopping. “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.”

Originally NearSt offered its search via its own website and app. However, last year it decided to partner with platforms with a higher consumer profile, providing the data and technology.

“We effectively moved from being a car maker to an engine maker, which works far better for both ourselves and where shoppers are actually searching – on Google,” says Brackenbury. “We’re working towards a future where this live inventory information is universally available in any site, app or service where it would be useful”.

The business has already raised £1.3 million from investors including YYX Capital and True. It is now launching a new round of fundraising to help expand.

One store already trialing the technology is Alara Health Store in London’s Bloomsbury. Owner Parry Kohsravi explained: “NearSt and Google has been a great way for us to create more awareness of our shop, and so attract more local customers who can benefit from our staff knowledge choosing the right products, rather than ordering online from our competitors.”



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