NEAR Technology Group has built a suite of tools that enable brick and mortar retailers to fight back against the ecommerce giants. Our launch product is called NEAR.SHOP and it connects online shoppers to inventory available in their community. We gather price and inventory data and make it searchable in a single location. Our users are able to sort and filter in a familiar way, then choose to pick up items themselves or have them delivered - usually cheaper and faster than our ecommerce competition.
Of course, there are several successful start-ups doing similar things - particularly with grocery deliveries. Where we differ is in our approach to search. We strongly believe that search, particularly for products, is profoundly broken. Most of us have been led to believe that Google dominates the search market, but that’s only when compared to other search engines. Our research shows that more than 60% of online shoppers start their product-related searches at Amazon, bypassing Google entirely. Since Amazon isn’t inviting anyone to advertise on their platform, that leaves a mere 40% of customers for online advertisers to squabble over.
The reality is that the traditional search engine interface is poorly suited to product research – the search, sort, filter approach used by Amazon and most other e-commerce sites has proven to be the best solution. Coupled with Prime shipping and product reviews, it’s not surprising that Amazon has managed to build and scale their operation to its current levels. All this leaves brick and mortar retailers at a distinct disadvantage. Most have their own web operations but those tend to cannibalize store sales and not win new customers. They’re battling for visibility online and losing.
Our unified marketplace is the solution for retailers, large and small alike. It’s unreasonable to expect online shoppers to visit multiple web destinations to compare products’ features and pricing. NEAR.SHOP is an exciting step forward for retail and a genuine opportunity for sellers to swing the pendulum back towards shopping local again. Our planned follow-on products will streamline access to our platform for smaller shops and enable service providers to append their offerings directly to product sales. more