Google announces Shopping tweaks to drive ‘brick and mortar’ sales for retailers

Google has announced a string of new updates to its Google Shopping platform, aimed at attracting online customers to retailer’s offline ‘brick and mortar’ stalls.

Announced at Search Marketing Expo Advanced (SMX Advanced) yesterday (June 12), the search giant claims despite the massive growth of e-commerce driven by the likes of Amazon, when customers want an item right away, 80% will head to the high street.

Google added that the new updates are designed to “remove friction” between retailers’ online and physical stores, while its own motivation will lie in brands increasingly taking to the search engine’s ad products to funnel foot traffic offline.

First of those tweaks includes expanding its affiliate location extensions to its video-sharing platform YouTube. Already available to advertisers using search and display campaigns, retailers will now be able to list nearby outlets under TrueView in-stream and bumper ads which, according to YouTube’s internal data, can increase click-through rates by over 15%.

A new display ad format comes with local catalog ads; these let retailers list a range of products in one “easy-to-scroll” ad, featuring additional information on in-store availability and detailed pricing. A “See What’s In Store” feature, meanwhile, allows retailers to showcase local inventory on their existing search knowledge panel.

Google says that both of these functions will be made possible via integration with point-of-sale or inventory providers such as Cayan, Pointy, Link and yReceipts.

It wasn’t all offline focused, however, as Google announced some updates to its online Shopping platform including a price benchmarks update that allows retailers to up-bid their most competitively-priced products against the same products sold by other retailers.

Meanwhile, on its Shopping Actions programme launched in March, allowing consumers to order from retailers direct via search, Assistant and voice, Google said it had more than 70 retailers live, reporting an increase in total clicks and conversions at a lower overall cost per click and conversion compared to running Shopping ads alone.

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