Amazon is often the arch nemesis of local brick-and-mortar businesses. Consumers can get almost everything on Amazon. So where does that leave local stores in the competition? The solution is easy: Pointy. A startup business, Pointy has already helped over 1,500 shops, mostly across the U.S. and Ireland, get even the most obscure products gathering dust on their shelves, online.
Pointy lets potential customers see what a local store has in stock but does not do transactions. Seeing that a product is available – particularly those that are hard to find – is enough to bring people through the local door as Amazon’s dominance grows.
Pointy goes beyond what brick-and-mortar stores have been able to do with Yelp (contact details and reviews) or social media (the chance to market to customer and field enquiries) over the past few years. So far the Pointy has been able to fill a niche that has been struggling for almost a decade. Whether consumers are searching for toys, health products, clothing, or anything else, the tiny rectangular device, about the size of a deck of cards, make is all this possible.
Pointy’s proprietary device has a cellular connection that keeps its database updated with stock information. Local stores simply plug in their handheld scanner into Pointy, and then back into the till. In less than five minutes the products are online.
After that, any product in the store that has a barcode gets automatically pulled into Pointy’s database after it has been scanned – whether that’s for a purchase or a stock check. A store can get all their stock on the system in mere weeks. The proprietary device has a cellular connection that keeps Pointy’s database constantly updated. Additionally, Pointy can track what’s in stock by scanning patterns in how often an item is purchased. If the data is unclear, it’ll suggest calling the store to check.
Although it just launched a year ago, the startup is already making money by charging retailers a one-time fee of $299 for the device and for having their products listed on its site. Those products can stay there indefinitely. With 70% of Pointy users being independent stores and 30% chains, Pointy is proving effective for store owners. In essence, Pointy is levelling the playing field.