There’s no denying the impact online shopping (not to mention Google Shopping) has had on brick-and-mortar stores around the world. As it continues to grow in popularity, more and more physical retailers are seen stepping into the ecommerce playing field and adapting to new consumer trends.
However, as Google so eloquently puts it, “brick-and-mortar isn’t dead.”
Programs like Amazon Prime continue to set new delivery-speed standards, but it can’t be ignored that purchasing in-store remains the most immediate way of receiving a product after a transaction. While the convenience of shopping online matters, so does the immediacy of shopping offline.
In fact, a Google study suggests that nearly 80% of shoppers will physically go to a store when they want an item immediately. On top of that, they saw 3x increase in mobile searches for “near me” within the last two years!
All of this said, companies like Google haven’t forgotten about the power of the good-old brick-and-mortar store. Their June 12, 2018 announcement at SMX Advanced shows just how many resources they continue to invest in both research and technology to help physical shops stay innovative and competitive.
Here’s a quick recap of these update.
Mobile Local catalog ads in Display
In line with the rest of their updates, this enhanced ad format helps physical retailers promote their local inventory, including product images, prices, product names, and availability. Complete with a magnified hero image, Google says the format is to complement the traditional print campaign flyers and catalogs of retailers. Shoppers can easily scroll through a merchant’s inventory and explore the product range, before going into the shop.
_Local feeds partnership program
Merchants can now take part in local inventory ads without needing to create local products or an inventory feed. Instead, they can now work with point-of-sale/inventory data providers like Pointy, Cayan, yReciepts, Linx, and NearSt. Learn more.
“See What’s in Store” feature
Retailers with brick-and-mortar shops can now import their local inventory for free to be displayed on their search Knowledge Panel and on Google Maps. The goal is to lure more of those “near me” searchers into the actual shop - helping the physical retailer to boost sales.
Affiliate location extension on Youtube
Brand manufacturers can now use affiliate location extensions on Youtube - as both TrueView in-stream and bumper ads. These help shoppers more easily find retail chains that sell their products in-store. Google has recorded a 15% increase in click-through-rate for those using these new placements.
Overall, it appears Google is just as adamant about keeping the world of offline retail alive, as it is online retail. It will definitely be interesting to see how the industry develops as more and more brand manufacturers and physical retailers gain the necessary tools and technology to convert more in-store sales. Only time will tell!