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Increase Footfall In Your Store With Google Local Inventory Ads

By Lengow


By Frédéric Clement - Chief Marketing Officer at Lengow

Retailers like Amazon, are reverting to traditional retail shops in a bid to provide customers with seamless buying journeys. In December 2016, the online retail giant opened an innovative cashless store in Seattle, showing that brick-and-mortar retail still dominates the industry.

Research conducted by British Land and Verdict reveals that 89% of all UK retail sales (valued at £278 billion) touch physical stores.

Recognising the need for brand continuity between online and physical shops, in 2013 Google launched Local Inventory Ads in the US and extended this offer to the UK the following year.

This article will look at how you can increase footfall in your store with Google Local inventory ads.

How do Google Local Inventory Ads work?

Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA) is a multichannel system that allows retailers to showcase both their online and in-store product catalogues to nearby customers. When a shopper in the vicinity of your shop searches for a specific item on the Google search engine, the first thing that appears is your sponsored product ads in carousel form.

Google gives the consumer the option to either buy the item online or in-store. If the user wants to make an immediate in-store purchase, they can click on your ad, which will take them directly to your ‘local storefront’, in other words, a Google-hosted page for your online shop.

In this ‘local storefront’, customers gain access to your in-store inventory, are provided with shop opening hours, given directions to your store and customer reviews.

With LIA, Google is building a bridge between the online and offline retail worlds, giving retailers more visibility for their physical shops. Google Local Inventory Ads is not limited to online retailers; brick-and-mortar stores with no online presence can also use this advertising format to attract customers to their stores.

TIP: Google Local Inventory Ads is available to retailers who fall under certain criteria which includes owning a brick-and-mortar store that sells physical goods and protects customer personally identifiable information (PII).

To set up Google Local Inventory Ads, you need to fill out an interest form online which will be submitted to Google. You then need to configure your accounts by setting up a Merchant Center account, My Business Locations account and an AdWords account (if you don’t already have these).

The next step is to create a local product feed, local product inventory feed and then work with Google to complete inventory checks. There is a handy step-by-step guide which can be found on the Google Merchant Center Help page.

From Online to Offline Commerce, a multichannel approach

According to Google, 82% of smartphone users claim to use their devices to find local businesses, and the same number of people consult their smartphones while in-store. The shopping experience has become omni-channel, 39% of ecommerce transactions involve multiple devices on the path to purchase and these devices often help in the buyer decision making process.

Google’s LIA takes advantage of this trend by establishing brand continuity in the shopping experience, from the initial search on the original device, to the use of mobile devices to map the route to a nearby store and consult customer reviews, to the final in-store purchase.

Google Local Inventory Ads strengthen complementarity between online and physical shops. River Island was the first fashion brand in the UK to use Google LIA and after implementing Local Inventory Ads, the retailer saw a 15% rise on their return-on-spend and a 33% increase in sales when offline performance data was included.

TIP: When using LIA to cater to consumers on the move and capture their attention, we suggest setting a mobile bid adjustment (up to 900%) for your campaign. You should also make sure to adjust campaigns on an hourly basis to respond to around the clock searches and increase bids for peak traffic times and shop opening hours.

You can also separate your Shopping and Local Inventory Ads if you want to maintain separate budgets for your campaigns.

Responding to growing customer expectations

Customer expectations continue to evolve, with many consumers looking for fast delivery of their products. According to a Stuart LTD report, over 70% of online shoppers would purchase more online from their favourite retailer if it offered same-day delivery.

Google Local Inventory Ads give retailers the opportunity to manage last minute orders, an otherwise costly process for ecommerce sites. Using LIA, retailers can improve the speed at which products reach a customer, without having to worry about delivery methods and costs.

Google revealed that if online shoppers could confirm a product’s availability beforehand online, 83% would be willing to go instore to make their purchase. Furthermore, by advertising in-store items, retailers avoid basket abandonment caused by delivery charges and make up for online items that are out of stock.

By having a sponsored ad (charged on a CPC basis) with Google LIA, you can drive your brand awareness. Google reveals that unaided brand awareness can be increased by 46% simply by having an ad that shows up in mobile searches. In fact, 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new product or company when conducting a search on their smartphones.

TIP: When creating a Google Local Inventory Ad listing, make sure that you activate location extensions, which show people your address, a map to your location and the distance between the customer and your business. To make the most out of LIA, you should configure location targeting and apply a radius-based upward bid to identify your best performing stores.

Google also recommends using store IDs in Google Analytics reports to monitor performance. If you want to keep track on how your clicks have an influence on shop visits, you can enable store visit conversions. This can give you a good idea of which campaigns are working best, allowing you to understand your ROI and base your ad strategy on results.

Conclusion

Google Local Inventory Ads give greater visibility to your entire product catalogue and allow you to monitor and review both your in-store and online performance. The omnichannel nature of LIA brings more touch points into your customer buying journey, making your brand all-the-more visible to consumers on the move. 

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