Local high streets are set to get boost after Google struck a deal to help roll out a new search function that helps shoppers find out what is available before heading to nearby stores.
The deal, with British tech start-up NearSt, allows people to search online for products and see available inventory in local shops on high streets nearby.
The function also shows distance, price, and availability directly in Google Search results.
For example, if a consumer searches for a particular brand of moisturiser, instead of just generic online results they are shown pharmacists or beauty shops that stock it within a mile or two of where they are.
NearSt has already raised £1.3 million from high profile investors including YYX Capital, headed by Simba Sleep founder James Cox, and True, a retail and consumer specialist investor.
The firm’s technology is now being rolled out across the UK and there are ambitions to raise £2 million from investors to expand at home and take its offer into the US.
NearSt, founded three years ago by former advertising executives Max Kreijn and Nick Brackenbury, said almost a third of all Google searches relate to location and over 80 per cent of all retail spending still takes place in physical shops.
NearSt’s technology also aligns with Google’s focus on adding more local product availability directly into search results.
“It gives small retailers the ability to compete effectively in the online world, without needing any of the technical and financial firepower of their online competitors,” Google’s global head of local shopping Nathalie Walton said.