Pointy, the once Irish owned company that makes technology to make it easier for physical retailers to get their products online, is to offer free devices to small and medium sized businesses here.

The business, which was bought by Google last year for a reported $163m, produces boxes that allow shops and other retailers to display their in-store products virtually.

Those products then appear in local Google search results, opening them up to a much wider audience of shoppers.

"Being visible online has become critical for brick and mortar retailers throughout the pandemic, but that can be a challenge for smaller retailers who may not have the resources to build and maintain an e-commerce platform," said Mark Cummins, General Manager at Pointy.

"Pointy creates an online presence for these retailers automatically, to help them showcase their product offering." 

Irish retailers have shifted online in large numbers in the past year as Covid-19 restrictions led to widespread closures of outlets.

For many retailers, this has involved getting to grips with ecommerce for the first time, as they previously had no online presence.

However, often it is hard to find locally available goods and services when shopping online, a problem the Pointy service helps retailers to get over.

"Pointy is an essential tool for businesses in Ireland," said Lorraine Higgins, Secretary General, Digital Business Ireland. 

"Helping online shoppers find the products they need in their area is a new way for businesses to connect with their customers and boost their visibility in an ever-competitive digital marketplace".

The Pointy system requires retailers to scan their produces with a barcode scanner and the system then adds them to Google.

As well as their stock, the store location, opening hours and contact details are also visible.

Pointy also says that retailers who join in the next six months will also get €100 of ad credit to trial Pointy's Product Ads feature.