Google's new feature allows users to search for products in local stores
- Google has expanded its Local Inventory Ads to Google Maps and its Knowledge Panel, providing users with the ability to view products available at searched-for retail locations, according to Search Engine Land.
- The option, which appears as “search items at this store,” takes users to a landing page with the advertiser’s local inventory list in the system.
- Individual product pages even go so far as to report size availability, reviews, and the option to search other locations.
Google's latest feature comes as brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to bridge the gap between online and offline activity. The feature should entice retail marketers to make sure their product line and current inventory is in Google’s Local Inventory ad program. The new feature also helps measure how Google ads impact store traffic and sales.
Using the feature, consumers can use their devices to not only find a store, but find the exact product they are searching for and even make sure their location has the size and specifications they are looking for.
The feature is rolling out for both desktop and mobile. Mobile in particular can help connect online and offline activity, with smartphones seen as the "glue" between those channels. Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to shop, even using them in stores to compare prices, get additional information, and find inspiration for their purchases. As of 2016, 34% of U.S. online retail purchases happen on mobile, according to Google.
About one-third of all mobile searches are now local, according to Google. Location adds another dimension for marketers, providing more insight into "why a specific audience might say, act or respond to a brand in a certain way, while also being able to reach them in a more personalized and meaningful way," Tony Longo, co-founder and CEO of Ground Signal, a location-based technology platform, told Marketing Dive.