My name is Mark Cummins, I’m co-founder of Pointy. Two and a half years ago I left Google and set out to make local retail work better with the internet. A lot of local stores were losing out to e-commerce, and I thought it didn’t have to be that way.
So I started Pointy. I’m really proud of what we’ve built, and it’s really exciting to finally be able to talk about it!
1. The Problem – Finding products
Imagine you’re trying to buy something specific, but you don’t know where it’s sold. If you type the product name into Google, you’ll probably find a dozen e-commerce websites selling it. But there’s no way to find it in your local stores!
This is what lead me to start Pointy. It seemed crazy that I could search the entire internet, but still didn’t know if what I wanted was in the store around the corner.
I particularly remember trying to find some craft beer I’d had at a party. The only place I could find it was on the internet, even though there was definitely a local store that sold it. If I’d know where that beer was available, it would have been much easier for me to buy it in person than to wait for an e-commerce delivery.
That’s why I started Pointy – to help local stores pick up footfall, by being found in searches.
2. Solution – The Pointy Box
This is where my background as a Google engineer comes in. We designed a device called the Pointy box that plugs into a store’s barcode scanner. The box picks up product UPC codes, and uses that to populate a website of the products sold in the store.
Here’s an example of what it looks like. Once you connect the Pointy box, we find all the product names and images, and automatically list all your store inventory online.
These pages are optimized for search engines, so that when people nearby search for products you stock, they can now see that it’s available in your store, not just on some big e-commerce site.
3. The Vision – To make it as easy to find things in local stores as it is online!
We’ve only recently launched this, and the response has been amazing. Already there are retailers across 47 states using Pointy! We’ve helped these stores appear in Google search results millions of times already, and we’re barely getting started.
Our mission is to help every local store pick up more footfall like this. We know local stores don’t have big budgets, so we knew we needed to keep the price low. Pointy can do a lot, without breaking the budget.
Judging by the response so far, it looks like we’re solving a problem that a lot of retailers have!
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