A new project by Google-backed retail technology company NearSt designed to funnel online shoppers to brick-and-mortar retail instead has had its world-first trial, benefitting a number of London stores including jeweller Stephen Webster.

The trial, which saw NearSt partner with property company Grosvenor, was designed to draw shoppers who may otherwise have bought online to Elizabeth Street and Mount Street in the English capital.

Real-time in-store inventory from shops including Creed, Stephen Webster, Pringle of Scotland and VICKISARGE in Mayfair & Belgravia was promoted to shoppers searching nearby on Google.

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Statistics from the trial show that online shoppers can successfully be encouraged to shop in-store, even during a pandemic.

NearSt’s report on the programme showed that 36% of visiting shoppers did so after seeing one of the targeted adverts online.

It estimated that 815 shoppers spent around £165,000 thanks to the trial.

The project comes amid a concerted effort on the part of shoppers to begin buying locally in a bid to have less environmental impact with their purchases.

Ian Mair, managing director of digital innovation at Grosvenor, commented: “We expected to be able to drive footfall, increase sales, support our retail tenants and generate insight into how to serve our customers better.

“All of these expectations were met in the trial and give us encouragement to roll NearSt out further in our portfolio.

“In our view, a physical place will still be an important enabler of outstanding retail experience and the blending of physical and digital will ensure that we meet the needs of customers, create surprise and delight in our places, and ensure ongoing vibrancy at the heart of the communities we serve.”