Retailers who have been making use of Google’s Knowledge Panel or Google Maps to advertise their business can now give web visitors a chance to see the actual products they have for sale using Local Inventory Ads.
Stores using this new type of ad will have ‘Search products at this store’ link added to their listing; when visitors click on it, they’re brought to a landing page Google controls. This page shows a Google map of your location, as well as your inventory. Inventory is organized into categories, with each product receiving its own listing. Retailers can specify if a product is available in stores only or online as well; if the product is online, there’s a button that the shopper can click to go directly to your website.
Make Sure You Read The Fine Print!
Be aware that Google will physically visit your store to verify that it exists as a brick and mortar location open to the public and that you actually have the inventory you’re advertising. The Local Inventory Advertising terms and conditions specify that this information be kept accurate and current. These ads are designed to work with your existing Google AdWords account, and you will be provided with metrics allowing you to track each ad’s performance.
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Bridging The Gap Between Online & Offline Sales
Google’s Local Inventory Ads have the potential to be very helpful to retailers. Millennials in particular tend to do a lot of online research before they go shopping; they want to know with a fairly high degree of certainty that the products they want will be available to them. This feature will be very useful for retailers who carry popular brands or very specific niche items. That being said, Google’s insistence that the ads be accurate and representative of your actual inventory puts a burden on retailers to ensure everything is updated regularly. If you’re going to use Google Local Inventory ads, make sure you have the infrastructure in place to keep them current!