C-Store Collective, the panel of associate consultants supported by convenience industry experts, is announcing retail technology company, NearSt, as its nineteenth partner company.
For retailers with a passion for maximising sales, NearSt is a retail technology company that boosts footfall through local product discovery online.
By connecting the live inventory of nearby shops to the web, NearSt will increase in-store sales by getting a store’s inventory in front of thousands of local customers searching on Google.
By installing a small piece of powerful software, stores can upload their products instantly in as little as two clicks. Shortly afterwards stores will see their entire in-store inventory appear in local search results, sending nearby shoppers in-store who might otherwise have ordered online.
In addition to listing a store’s products on Google, NearSt also provides detailed insights to the retailer about what’s popular with customers searching nearby.
Nick Brackenbury, Co-Founder and CEO at NearSt, said: “Our partnership with C-Store Collective will give retailers in the convenience sector the confidence of knowing that our service is backed by experts. We want to make it as easy as possible for convenience stores to benefit from our new technology which directs customers into stores.
“As millions more people turned their attention online during the pandemic, our technology has helped redirect them back to the nation’s high streets - locating items they were searching for online in nearby bricks-and-mortar stores. It should be easier for consumers to find something from a real shop nearby than order from an online shopping site.
“Our technology is helping shoppers realise that buying local is often faster and easier than ordering online and it provides a welcome boost for convenience stores, he added.”
The new partnership will help NearSt expand the number of convenience stores it works with which already includes Nisa, Londis and Budgens.
Founded in 2015 by Max Kreijn and Nick Brackenbury, the duo developed technology that makes products on physical store shelves visible to shoppers searching online nearby. Businesses like Google use the technology to show real-time local product availability directly in search results.
The technology has seen widespread uptake by British retailers as a low-effort but powerful tool to fight back against the might of large online retailers. Retailers spanning convenience, DIY and garden centres, health, pharmacies, and even luxury fashion and jewellers are all using the platform.
During 2020 NearSt saw tripling in demand for their services. The start-up’s software has proven to be a life-line for bricks and mortar retail during the pandemic as shoppers went online in unprecedented numbers to find out what was in stock in nearby stores.
Brackenbury said: “The pandemic has driven shopping behaviours online; what are often overlooked are the millions of people now going online to search for things locally on the high street.
“We have witnessed extraordinary growth in ‘local-availability’ searches throughout 2020. In the first lockdown customers searching for products nearby surged 620% compared to February levels, before levelling off at a 270% increase between July and September.”
NearSt has seen a real trend in convenience store data towards gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian product searches. For convenience stores already using the technology, this made it simpler to delight customers who did not realise the stores stocked the niche items.
“Our technology expands the catchment area and brings in new customers. When people are after a specific item and they know a store has that item in stock, they will travel past the closest destination to get there,” Brackenbury claimed. He added: “Listing all the products ranged online delivered NearSt-partnered convenience stores 75 to 100 new customers per month.”
Jonathon Rons, Co-Founder of C-Store Collective, said: “The NearSt partnership with C-Store Collective will focus on bringing a convenience channel solution by harnessing the technology which enables a retailer to promote in-store products at the top of Google when shoppers nearby search for them, giving them easy ways to visit store. Their proven record of getting shoppers to visit bricks and mortar stores is exactly what sales driven convenience stores need.”