When brands and retailers first began adapting to the pandemic, there was a lot of guesswork. However, what started as a knee-jerk response has led businesses into the “new norm” of commerce, where they are discovering what works, what doesn’t, and how to behave in the coming years.
We recently sat down with Google’s Ingrid Isaak to get her insights on the topic. As one of Google's marketing experts, and specifically responsible for the Local Inventory Ads Program in Central Europe, she knows a lot about how businesses are behaving right now and what are the best steps to take to drive sales and stay relevant.
Here are five ways Google LIAs can help European businesses drive sales again.
1. Make it easy for shoppers to support local businesses
Shoppers know that they are making a huge percentage of their purchases online right now. This fact is causing them to actively change their in-store habits. In fact, a study in May found that 68% of consumers in Germany said they will shop closer to home and support local businesses. Whether it’s because they have more time to find local places or they specifically care about offsetting the negative effects of the pandemic on SMBs, shoppers are actually very willing to go to brick-and-mortar stores, and businesses should be aware of this newfound interest in going local.
Google LIAs help businesses reach both new and existing customers and remind them of the great offers that might be just around the corner.
2. Click-and-collect (has truly lived up to the hype!)
For a while, marketers have been saying that the click-and-collect model had huge, untapped potential - but that potential wasn’t always easy to show. Enterprise retailers in the US like Walmart and Home Depot have been putting the tactic to use for a couple of years and seen great results, but smaller businesses have been a bit slower on the uptake. However, with 30+% of Germans making use of click-and-collect options right now, it looks like it’s time for this tactic to go mainstream.
Google LIAs make click-and-collect extraordinarily easy, and they are highly effective in showing off different ways and places for a given user to complete a purchase. This is particularly helpful for businesses who are purely brick-and-mortar but looking to stay relevant as buyer habits change.
3. Supercharge advertising for brick-and-mortar retailment
Shopping today is a little different. Because shoppers have not been out and about as much as usual, they are looking for experiences and branding they can really get behind. Of course, there is a deluge of options available, and the brands and retailers who make themselves memorable and relevant are the ones most likely to win a place in shopper’s hearts (and wallets). The pop-up store is one great example. Businesses who don’t have a physical location or who want to do something special and campaign-specific can create a unique and exciting little pop-up to grab user’s otherwise distracted attention.
LIAs help these businesses who may not normally worry about advertising for brick-and-mortar quickly make that switch and drive traffic to their locations - wherever or whatever they may be.
4. Connect shoppers with system relevant stores
Whether it’s a popular grocer or an important hardware store, a bike shop or a chemist, there are some stores that will want to invest in driving traffic right now. Shoppers are being more cautious and discerning with where they physically shop, and LIAs make it easier for them to understand their options. Plus, because such ads are usually highly relevant due to physical proximity, they may be even more effective now than before. In fact, LIAs have seen a significant increase in clicks for the businesses who are open right now.
With LIAs, businesses can ensure that shoppers are reminded of their offering and presence. With shoppers buying more online and being more picky with their in-store visits, this could be much more meaningful.
5. Makes multi-channel easier
Shopping campaigns and LIA campaigns are not so separate - at least they shouldn’t be. Overarching Google Shopping campaigns will acquire so much data, and they’re also where businesses will generally allocate most of their budget. However, just by enabling multi-channel ads, these businesses can start diverting ad budget from Shopping campaigns to LIAs (or vice versa!).
This is particularly helpful as many local, traditionally brick-and-mortar, shops are moving into ecommerce in order to stay relevant. At the same time businesses who normally don’t focus on brick and mortar may need to start driving foot traffic. In the end, LIAs and multi-channel ads will be a powerful tool as we transition further into the "new norm" in commerce.
If you want to learn more about Google LIAs, our Complete guide to Google local inventory ads reveals the required data feeds and formats, plus how to maximize your campaigns or watch the recording of our webinar, The state of Google local inventory ads: a fireside chat with Google's own Shopping Ads expert.