Google Expands Local Shopping Options in Time for Holiday Sales!

With so many eyes on our digital-only sales metrics, it can be easy to forget that around 92% of retail sales still happen offline. According to Google Consumer Surveys, most people still want their items right away, want to see or feel their items, and don’t want to worry about hassles like shipping and returns. This is even more common during the holidays, when turnaround time and getting the perfect gift are crucial.  

Google has been building out it’s features for local retailers, both in advertising capabilities, but also in tracking and reporting functionality. In addition to the expansions that were announced last spring, Google is moving some major functions out of beta in time for the holiday shopping season.

So, what’s new? Here are the 4 biggest things you need to know:

1) More In-Store Pick Up Options: Advertisers who run Local Inventory Ads are now able offer more than just the previous Buy Online Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) options. You can now go even further by adding “Pick Up Today” and Pick Up Later” choices. This is great for stores that do same-day pick up when people need things right away, versus a ship-to-store option that may still have a wait.

2) Expanded Conversion Types: Until now the only way to measure your local campaigns was by store visits, using Google’s automated campaigns. You are now able to include other metrics such as calls, clicking for directions, and other specific goals, without enabling the store visits metric. This is a great way to get much more insight.

3) Local Product Feeds on the Display Network: Much like a regular product feed upload, local advertisers will be able to provide a feed of local products, that will run across the display network. These ads will show when users are nearby and looking for items you sell, so the images should include details like store hours and other items available, with a prompt to visit your store.

Here’s a cool sample of how an ad like this could look from our friends over at Search Engine Land.

4) Promoted Stops in Maps Directions: If you’ve used Waze, the community-driven map service owned by Google, you have probably noticed the advertisements for places nearby. The user isn’t necessarily searching for your location, or your items, but your local store is along their route. This is now part of Google Maps as well!

It’s no secret that online sales have grown exponentially over the years, as has the digital marketing industry, but brick-and-mortar is not dead. By taking advantage of all the local features that Google offers, you have the competitive advantage of meeting people where they are online while getting them to come to you in person.

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