Google acquires Pointy to help local retailers compete against Amazon

Google has acquired Dublin-based Pointy which had developed a solution designed to help traditional retailers compete with ecommerce giants like Amazon.

The companies did not disclose the price Google paid. But the two companies had developed a growing relationship around ecommerce in recent years.

“Over the past several years, we’ve developed a very close partnership with Google,” Pointy founders Mark Cummins and Charles Bibby wrote in a blog post. “It became clear that we shared the same vision of how technology can improve local retail businesses. So today is a natural next step in our journey. By joining forces, we will be able to help people discover local stores and products on a much larger scale. We think this is the right way to accomplish what we set out to do — to bring the world’s retailers online and give them the tools they need to thrive.”

As Amazon expands its physical footprint to bring items ever closer to people’s home in order to speed delivery times, Pointy wanted to make it easier for consumers to find the same products in local stores. The problem traditionally has been that many of these local business either haven’t had their full inventory online or consumers have had to search numerous sites individually to discover if a product was nearby.

Pointy bridged this gap with a small device that store owners can connect to their bar code scanner. As each item is scanned into inventory, it also gets uploaded to the website in a way that optimizes it for search.

That connection to search engines is key to product discovery. Over the last couple of years, Pointy had announced several integrations with Google services, including a See What’s In Store feature that displayed a retailer’s inventory on its search result, and Local Inventory Ads.

“Google has long been committed to helping small businesses grow and thrive in the online world,” wrote Google senior director Peter Chane in a blog post. “One of the challenges small merchants face is getting their in-store inventory information online in a way that is easy to manage and reliably up to date. Since organizing the world’s information is core to what we do, we’ve been working to make it easier for local merchants to better showcase their products to interested shoppers on Google.”

Pointy had previously raised $19 million in venture capital, including a $12 million round in 2018.

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