International Spotlight: British startup aims to connect consumers with brick-and-mortar retail

Thursday, Jan 14, 2021

London-based startup NearSt is making waves in the world of brick-and-mortar retail. The retail tech company aims to drive consumers to local businesses, making in-store inventory visible to millions of people.

By capturing individuals who are shopping and browsing online, NearSt integrates their NearLIVE tech platform to promote in-store products at the top of Google results pages. When shoppers are looking for a certain product online, the program will list live nearby availability info for that exact item and give them easy ways to visit the physical store to pick it up.

This allows brands who use NearSt to not only serve their existing customers, but also target new consumers and bring them into physical stores vs. shopping online. With the platform, retailers can learn what customers are searching for online and what’s trending in the area, they can then use these analytics to enhance their brick-and-mortar experience and offerings.

NearSt further eliminates the shortcomings that are often associated with online shopping and instead gives the consumer instant gratification, without the hassle of shipping, packaging and potential returns.

“We all know that the pandemic has driven shopping behaviours online; what’s often overlooked are the millions of people now going online to search for things locally on the high street,” said Nick Brackenbury, NearSt Co-Founder.

The British startup was founded in 2015 and has raised over £5 million in total. NearSt recently gained funding from international property company, Grosvenor Group. Their technology has been used across Grosvenor Group’s estates, with plans to expand internationally.

“This is a multi-billion dollar market that technology has barely touched, and NearSt has the potential to truly transform how we all interact with physical retail,” said Ian Mair, Managing Director of Digital Innovation at Grosvenor Group.

This is a valuable platform for brick-and-mortar stores all over. The company believes in the power of physical retail and its future potential.

“Online shopping is often positioned as the death knell for the high street. We think it’s far from this, and will rather be the foundation of a vibrant and healthy future for bricks and mortar shops,” said Brackenbury.

The NearSt platform is very similar to an initiative Google started in September. Google’s shopping results now show stores that offer curbside or in-store pick-up. This includes a “nearby” filter that allows users to see if the items they’re looking for are in local stores.

NearSt and Google teaming up to introduce this platform to America would bring a ton of advantages for the physical retail space. Brick-and-mortar in the US is growing at a rapid pace, and this is another step in the right direction to remove the friction between physical and digital. This omnichannel strategy will continue to evolve brick-and-mortar shopping as we know it.

Source: Retail Tech Startup NearSt – RTIH, NearSt Website
Photo Credit: NearSt Website

About NearSt
NearSt is a retail technology company getting more people into high street shops by connecting the live inventory of nearby shops to the web. We believe it should be easier to find something from a real shop nearby than order for delivery from an online shopping site.

Our NearLIVE technology platform makes this possible by connecting the products stocked in high street shops to local shoppers searching nearby. We do this using real-time local inventory technology – our unique single view of exactly who stocks what, where, and when.

By connecting Real-Time Local Inventory data to the sites, apps and services already used by shoppers we’re truly making buying local faster and easier than buying online.

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