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Target drives in-store patio furniture sales with local inventory ads: Google

For stores where Target is running Google local inventory ads for patio furniture so mobile users can see what is available nearby, patio revenues are significantly outpacing locations that do not have the ads.

According to a recent post on Google’s digital marketing blog, Think with Google, by focusing on customer intent and context, Target is reaping the benefits. After recognizing that shoppers might search on smartphones for patio furniture then see completely different merchandise when they came into the store, the retailer merged its online and offline marketing and merchandising teams for patio to create a unified mobile-first team.

“Target saw that 98 percent of its guests were shopping digitally and that 75 percent were starting on mobile,” per the blog post. “But in categories like patio furniture, its in-store and online teams were still operating and marketing separately, even as more than 50 percent of their sales in the patio category were coming through”

Shopping journey evolves
By focusing on how mobile is redefining the shopping journey, Target was able to create a better experience for shoppers and is benefiting as a result.

The Target example points to the opportunities for retailers to have a presence and be useful for shoppers as they rely on their smartphones to be an assistant throughout their day.

The important thing to remember is that shoppers are omnichannel. Google reports that six in 10 Internet users start shopping on one device but continue or finish on a different one. Additionally, 82 percent say they consult their phones on purchase they are about to make in a store.

Retailers should also keep in mind that while foot traffic in stores has declined by 57 percent in the past five years, the value of every shopper has nearly tripled. Mobile is driving this trend as consumers use their phones before heading into a store to gather ideas, research products and search for local information. This is why Google has seen “near me” searches having doubled in the past year.

Shoppers are purchasing on mobile, too. Google reports that time on site for mobile users in the United States is down 5 percent year over year. However, retail’s share of online purchases is growing, with 34 percent of online retail purchase now happening on mobile devices.

These figures suggest that retailers who can figure out how to be present and useful when consumers are on their phones will benefit.

Key moments
Focus on several key moments in the shopping journey.

One key moment is when consumers are looking for ideas. They already have a general awareness of the product category they are interested in but have not narrowed down their choice yet.

Another key moment is when shoppers turn to their phones in short bursts of activity to compare prices, brands and specs and read product reviews.

Then there is decision time, when consumers make a choice about which brand or retailer to buy from and whether to buy online or in store.

Retailers should focus on identifying the most important moments for their shoppers and commit to being there when a shopper is searching on mobile.

Then look for ways to be useful by providing valuable information, whether it is product reviews, video tutorials or the ability to purchase right away.

Retailers should not get hung up on demographics. Instead, understand shoppers’ intent and context and marry this with what they know about a customer.

“It’s less important for a shopper to be present in-store than for the store to present wherever and whenever a shopper needs it,” per the post.