Even as the world of eCommerce expands, the good old brick and mortar retail stores are here to stay. Accounting for more than 80% of the retail spending, running a physical store is not the worst idea in the year 2021. It is also important to note that having a physical store does not mean that you only have to stick to the traditional means of marketing. Using online means to market your store is highly suggested (and even encouraged) if you want your store to tap into a larger consumer base.
There are numerous tools and softwares available online that make marketing your physical retail store easy. Google for instance, allows users to use its Google Shopping platform to promote both online and physical stores. Another branch of Google Ads, Google Shopping allows buyers to search for, compare and shop for physical products across different retailers that have advertised on their platform. Google Shopping is also often referred to as a Comparison Shopping Engine (CSE) as it provides benefits to both the sellers and the consumers. The results on Google Shopping show up in thumbnails that display each product’s image, name and price.
Why Should I Use Google Shopping for My Physical Store?
Google shopping is an essential for any physical store looking to advertise online. Not only has it got the advantages that come with using Google Ads, it also gets updated regularly to provide physical stores with the most value. Throughout the decade, Google has rolled out several new features that enable Google Shopping to drive foot traffic to your brick and mortar store. Let’s have a look at some of the features you can use to your gain:
1. Local Inventory Ads
Google designed Local Inventory Ads as an ad format keeping the physical stores specifically in mind. In most cases, the offline retailers can even advertise without having their own website in place. Local inventory ads appear the same way a regular Shopping Ad does on the Google Shopping page. The only differences are the presence of the “in store” label and a “local storefront” that the user is directed to when they click on the ad. This local storefront is not to be confused with a website as it only shows the important details of the product.
Details such as the product’s name, price, store’s location, phone number and name are the ones usually mentioned in the local storefront. Customers can also buy directly from the local storefront as it also provides them with a ‘buy now’ option, but that would require your store to have an online website where the customer can be redirected to make the purchase.
2. See What’s In Store
Google has also come up with a ‘See What’s in Store’ feature for Google Shopping through which physical retailers can showcase their inventories online. The stores, through this feature can showcase their inventories for free on the “Knowledge Panel” as well as on Google Maps.
Most of the customer’s will visit a physical store if they are sure of a product’s availability. Using the See What’s in Store feature allows customers to not only know of its availability, but also compare it with other products that they may be interested in. The fact that this feature shows up on Google Maps is also quite handy. It allows the store to advertise to consumers that are often on the go as they can now locate their store along with their inventory to make a quick sale.
3. Measure Local Inventory Ads Performance
Along with the various features that drive foot traffic to your store, Google Shopping also lets you measure the performance of your campaign. These measurement and reporting features are often aimed and tailor-made for physical retailers that help you in analysing, and working out a robust marketing plan.
You can use both Google Ads and Google Analytics to measure the performance of your Local Inventory Ads. Google provides a comprehensive guide on how to go about the measurement process in this blog post.
4. Measure Store Visit Conversions
In addition to the above measurement and reporting features, Google also lets you measure ‘Store Visit Conversions’ that let you track the impact your online advertising campaign had on physical store visits. This process is however a little more complex as it requires you to ask your Google Representative to check your eligibility for the feature. For now, the feature is reserved mostly for large retailers in a few selected countries. You can read further about the same on a Google blog post charting out the entire process comprehensively.
In a world where online businesses are evolving at an amazing pace, it is essential for your physical store to also adapt with it. Having an online presence through a website, social media, or online ads are your best bets to compete with the eCommerce industry.
Google Shopping in that case, becomes of great use to every physical retailer as it provides them with tailor made solutions that not only lets you advertise, but also measure the relevant traffic that is coming your way through your digital campaigns.