Google is making further inroads into e-commerce with the purchase of Pointy, a Dublin, Ireland-based startup that helps brick-and-mortar retailers get their products listed and discoverable online.
Tech Crunch reports that Google is acquiring Pointy for $163 million.
Founded six years ago by CEO Mark Cummins and CTO Charles Bibby, Pointy specializes in helping physical retailers — specifically ones without a pre-existing e-commerce storefront — have their products listed online without needing an e-commerce infrastructure to do so. Cummins’ first company, visual search startup Plink, was acquired by Google in 2010.
Pointy’s most well-known product is its Pointy box, a small hardware device that plugs into a retailer’s barcode scanner and connects to their point-of-sale terminal. Whenever a product is scanned, the box automatically uploads that product to the retailer’s Pointy page that is managed by Pointy. That page contains all the information shoppers need to find the retailer — e.g. address, directions, opening hours and a description and photo of the store.
Pointy does all the heavy lifting, as retailers don’t even need an Internet connection to have their store use the box — listed for $700 — which has its own internal connection the Internet via cellular network. “All you need to do is plug it in and it will take care of itself,” the tech company’s website states. “There's no extra work. Pointy automatically finds the correct names and images for your product using its barcode. No data entry needed, everything happens automatically.”
The end goal is to lure more shoppers into those retailers’ physical stores by enabling their data to be viewable on Google Search’s “See what’s in store” feature.
Google first partnered with Pointy in 2018, helping retailers’ display their info on the web search giant.
“Over the past several years we’ve developed a very close partnership with Google,” Pointy said in a blog post from last week. “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.
Pointy also now has a free app that integrates with point-of-sale devices from providers including BestRx, CashRx, Clover, Liberty, Lightspeed, Square, Vend and WooPOS.