Google’s Pointy: Is it right for your store?


Have you heard of Pointy? Or maybe you have received an email or call from a Google representative about Pointy? Pointy was acquired by Google in 2018 and interest in it has been growing recently. Its goal is to attract more customers into your physical retail store by automatically displaying random products in your online Google My Business profile. Since a couple of our clients have asked about Pointy, we thought we’d learn more about it and share the info here.

Let’s take a look at eligibility, how it works with your POS system, and what it means for your business’s online presence.

Google describes it’s Pointy service, in part, as follows:

“Pointy from Google helps you to attract local shoppers to your physical store by displaying your products directly on your Business Profile on Google. Essentially, it just lets people in your area know that you are a local convenient option for what they need and have it in stock before they leave their homes, which is especially important with Covid in mind today.”

To get started with Pointy, its website takes you through a series of eligibility questions to ensure that your store, it’s equipment, and bar codes are compatible with how the Pointy service obtains its product data from you.

Quick Reference List of Pointy Eligibility Questions

  • You must have a physical retail store
  • You must not sell “rapidly changing items” such as clothing
  • You must have a barcode scanner
  • Your barcode scanner must be at your POS
  • You must either:
    • Be using one of the following Point of Sale (POS) brands: BestRx, BottlePos, Cash RX, Clover, CSY, IdoSoft, J3, Liberty, Lightspeed, MICRO Merchant Systems, PALADIN, PharmaTill, POSitec, Retail Management HERO, Square, TransAct POS, Vend, WooPOS; OR
    • Your barcode scanner must be connected (wired) to your POS (not wireless)
  • You must use manufacturers’ UPC or EAN barcodes (not your own barcodes or another barcode standard)

Probably Eligible

Based upon the information provided in the Pointy “Get Started” eligibility widget, if you made it through all of the above eligibility requirements, then your store might be eligible for the Pointy service. The best way to know for sure is to go through the “Get Started” widget on the pointy.withgoogle.com website. After going through it, you can have a representative contact you to discuss the details.

How It Works

Once Pointy is set up at your store, the barcodes for every product that you scan at your POS all day long, every day, is sent to the Pointy system. The system analyzes all of the barcodes from your store and from all of the other stores in the Pointy system, and determines which items are popular that day. It then selects some of those popular products to show on your store’s Google My Business profile for a while. It uses product names and photos from the associated manufacturers.

Possible Issues?

You have no ability to select which products show up in your Google My Business profile. This is solely up to Pointy.

Pointy claims that this approach signals that recently scanned products can be known to be in-stock so that a customer doesn’t see the product on your profile and come to the store, only to find that you are out-of-stock. However, if you are not using one of the above listed POS brands, then if the most recent scan of a given product happens to be your last of that product, Pointy would incorrectly interpret that last scan, and all scans, as meaning that you have the product in-stock. Just hope a customer doesn’t drive to your store to find that you are out of stock after they saw the item featured on your profile. Based upon publicly available Pointy information, you have no control over this.

Reference

The above information was obtained from public online information about the Pointy system, from emails from a Pointy representative, and from using the “Get Started” eligibility widget in February 2021. Your mileage may vary.

If you are interested in Pointy, then go to their official website, read about it, go through the eligibility widget yourself, and talk to a Pointy representative to determine if it’s right for your store(s).

To learn more about the services we offer that help businesses reach more shoppers, contact sales@emerge2.com.

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