How Millennials Buy Products & How Pointy Helps

emily with pointy box 2

Hi! I’m Emily Cain and I work with Pointy, the company that makes the little box that’s transforming local retail.

I’m also part of the “millennial” generation. Often, we get a bad reputation for abandoning brick-and-mortar retail in favour of shopping with online giants like Amazon.

Do millennials just not like local retail? No, the truth is, we just love convenience and finding products in an online store is far more convenient than finding it in local stores.

If you type the product name into Google, you’ll probably find a dozen large, e-commerce websites selling it. But there’s no way to find it in nearby brick-and-mortar stores, even if buying local means you can get the product far quicker and with better service!

How does Pointy solve this problem?

This is where our co-founders’ backgrounds as Google and Oxford engineers comes in!

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 17.27.30

Charles Bibby and Mark Cummins, co-founders of Pointy.

They designed a little 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 like Google, 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.

This means that when millennials and people of all ages are searching for products you stock online, they find your store!

Are You A Retailer?

If you are a retailer and would like to get involved use the button below to fill in your details and we will be in touch.

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35 Comments
  • Ron
    6:34 AM, September 2017

    What is the cost?

    • Emily Cain
      2:01 PM, September 2017

      Hey Ron,
      Emily Here, the cost is $299.

      • Arun tandon
        2:24 AM, September 2017

        299/ month ?

      • Emily Cain
        2:23 PM, September 2017

        V Hey Arun,
        It is a one-time fee of $299.

  • Trish
    3:42 PM, September 2017

    What about for retail stores that do not have SKUs? For instance a custom product shop? Like countertops

    • Emily Cain
      4:01 PM, September 2017

      Hey Trish,

      At the time we can only get products that have manufactures barcodes/UPC codes onto Pointy Pages.

  • Mark Rothfuss
    9:35 PM, September 2017

    Does this work with Uaccept POS systems?

    • Emily Cain
      2:23 PM, September 2017

      Hey Mark,
      As long as you have a barcode scanner Pointy can work for you. The Pointy box does not interact with the POS system it just sits between the barcode scanner and POS, all you have to do is plug it in and we do the rest!

  • SUZANNE
    1:46 PM, September 2017

    I’d love to hear feedback and testimonials from some current customers….specifically women’s consignment boutiques

    • Emily Cain
      2:06 PM, September 2017

      Hey Suzanne,

      Unfortunately, it is very hard for us to get the right images for fashion. This happens because many times clothing brands recycle their UPC codes season to season which makes it nearly impossible for us to get the right information.

  • Jerry Brown
    1:15 AM, September 2017

    Do they list a price when listing the items and your store?

    • Emily Cain
      5:04 PM, September 2017

      Hey Jerry,
      We do not list prices with the products.

  • Nicole Vandermeulen
    4:56 PM, September 2017

    What about if we assign our own UPC code intended for our POS system and not the barcode provided by the manufacturer?? Will your scanner still be able to read it and translate it to the correct product?? We do have pictures of the product attached to our UPC codes but not for all our product!!

    • Emily Cain
      5:06 PM, September 2017

      Hey Nicole,
      We only recognize the manufactures UPC code any code we don’t recognize will not go on the Pointy Page.

      • Nicole Vandermeulen
        6:46 PM, September 2017

        ok too bad, won’t work for us then. As a small brick and mortar store our POS system ( Lightspeed POS) doesn’t always jive with the manufactures UPC so we need to create our own. Maybe something to consider while doing further product development on how your product can benefit all of us, not just a select few!! Cheers.

  • Jeffrey Smith
    12:14 AM, January 2018

    You said it doesn’t interact with the PoS system in an earlier reply. So I could scan everything in my stores as it comes in to fill up the online page, but how would you keep the inventory list online current? I guess it could be nice to get more exposure and customer inquiries, but don’t know if it would help if people kept contacting me about an item I sold out of years ago and can’t restock.

    • Kim Mitchell
      12:09 PM, March 2018

      I’d love to hear an answer from pointy on the above question.

      • Emily Cain
        3:49 PM, March 2018

        Hey Kim,
        See answer below.
        Thanks!

    • Emily Cain
      3:47 PM, March 2018

      Hey Jeffrey,

      If you want to scan everything in your store it would populate your page. The idea behind putting it on the POS is to keep it as automatic as possible for the retailer and to give us the frequency of scans to:
      1) keep your page up to date
      2) provide a stock status estimation

      Pointy does the above by using the behavior of the scans for each product. For example, a gas station normally scans a pack of gum 5 times a day and at the end of there are no scans we would assume that that product is out of stock. It would say out of stock until it is scanned in again and if it is not scanned in again it will drop off the page after a certain amount of time. That is an estimation, however, in my opinion, it is pretty accurate.

      Thanks for the question!

      • Kim Mitchell
        4:20 PM, March 2018

        Emily, is there any other way to get an in stock list to pointy? Our store scans the mfr barcode into the system (for purposes of our website), BUT then we put a custom price tag on every item and that custom price tag is what is scanned at the register. So, if you are counting on just the mfr barcode for deciding what is in stock, that would not work for us and we would end up being in stock on lots of thing that we are not. I’m very interested in your product so hope we can work on a solution for populating what is in stock.

  • omalley musical
    7:17 PM, March 2018

    I don’t have a pos or barcode scanner. but do have manuf barcode # will that work?

    • Emily Cain
      3:49 PM, March 2018

      Hey Omalley,

      Unfortunately, your store would not be the best fit for Pointy. In order to get the information to build your page and keep it up to date, you would need a scanner.

      Thanks for the question.

  • Every-body Soap Co
    1:37 AM, March 2018

    As you all get off the ground would you consider some of the above regarding custom and handmade products? As well as the surrounding info. Millenials are also increasingly health and environmentally conscious so why only support detrimental mass produced goods? (unless that’s your funding base, then so be it) this is a brilliant idea that very well has the potential to transform access to goods. You could literally cause the market to change hands back to us instead of them. That’s my 2 cents. Keep up the good work!

  • Julie
    12:41 PM, March 2018

    What POS system functions best with Pointy?

    • Emily Cain
      5:40 PM, March 2018

      Hey Julie,
      Any POS with a wired barcode scanner works with Pointy. As long as you have a wired Barcode scanner with a USB/PS2/Serial connection Pointy can work for you!

  • Lacy
    6:35 PM, April 2018

    Hello,

    I’m curious about the search piece of this. I own an independent bookstore, and most of what we sell have ISBNs. Given that more than half of product searches on the internet now *start* on Amazon (https://ilsr.org/amazon-stranglehold/), we’re talking about the other less-than-half results based on searches that originate on Google (or other search engines)? Does the consumer have to search using the ISBN itself (which basically never happens) or a title or an author? Let’s say, for example, that I’m searching for Questlove’s new book (Creativequest) near Rockland, Maine (where I am.) What parameters does the search have to have in order for that book, or any of his books, appear as available through my store?

    • Lacy
      6:36 PM, April 2018

      And a follow up: what does that search results page actually look like?

      • Emily Cain
        2:39 PM, April 2018

        Hey Lacy,
        It will appear as (Your store name, Product name). You can see for yourself by googling “Shock Top Beer Palo Alto”

      • Lacy
        2:52 PM, April 2018

        Thanks for the comment, Erin–but could you let me know the answer to my primary question, too?

    • Emily Cain
      2:56 PM, April 2018

      They would search for the book title and town or a combination of both.

  • Tom Griggs
    2:25 PM, May 2018

    How does your product account for the fact that Amazon for example has a huge weighting with Google and surely will always come out on top regardless of where the consumer is? Also if you use the same images and blurb for everyone as far as I understand that’s precisely what Google doesn’t favour? Doesn’t the system rely on people wanting to find it locally in the first instance? If that’s the case then why would they be more likely to find my products on your site rather than mine?

  • Emily Cain
    4:09 PM, May 2018

    Google typically returns a result that is most relevant to the person searching. Due to this, we have seen times when a Pointy result has appeared ahead of Amazon. This, however, is beside the point of what we are trying to do. We are giving Brick & Mortar retailers the ability to show up on the same platform as these big Eccomerce giants. This allows the customer to choose whether they want to shop online or actually go to a store that is close to them. We are not telling you that every time someone searches your product, you will show up ahead of Amazon, we are giving you the opportunity to do some at minimal cost & time.

  • Learning Railroad
    4:26 AM, May 2018

    We have Pointy in our toy store, Learning Railroad in Paducah, KY. When you consider the costs of any advertising, Pointy is very economical. It gets inventory loaded quickly, and into search feeds where people can find products locally. I’m not sure why some POS systems require you to use a barcode other than the mfr….. we always use the mfr. barcode. It is well worth the price. I do hope in the future, their technology can be used for a more personalized website. I would be willing to pay a monthly fee.

  • Ernie
    9:37 PM, May 2018

    Do you have any furniture stores using it

    • Emily Cain
      9:50 PM, May 2018

      Furniture stores are not the best fit since they don’t often stock products with UPC codes.

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