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Mobile to Store shopping is the next big thing in e-commerce for brick and mortar stores. Google Local Inventory Ads enable merchants to capture more localized buyers who begin their shopping through a mobile device. Here’s the lowdown on how Google LIA’s work on the merchant side.
Google has developed a new way to attract nearby, on-the-go shoppers into your physical store at the moment they’re actively out looking for a product you carry. You can edge out your competition with this still under-used, yet incredibly powerful digital ad channel.
LIA’s work for both mobile and desktop users
Local inventory ads are designed to surface local product and store information to online users when the item they’re searching for is available nearby.
Whether a user is on their mobile device or on a computer, Google’s location-targeted search algorithm causes local inventory ads to appear. This works when the user adds a location to a browser search term such as Miss Dior perfume or selects Google’s newer search feature, [Miss Dior] Nearby.
That same search term will work in a Maps app (Google or Apple), which yields a display of all the store locations of places nearby that sell that item. If you are participating in LIA’s, your location will display more prominently in a popup or sidebar, with all the enhanced extras included.
Instantly connect your available inventory with active shoppers
The beauty of LIAs is that they are always location-targeted to a user’s IP location at any given time, so in most cases they don’t even have to add a location term to their search query – only the item’s name, and the LIA will appear based on where Google tells it the user is located.
Shoppers who are searching online for a particular retail item will see your store’s ad come up displaying the item they want and showing that it’s available at your nearby store. The ad displays all the purchase details they’d want to know before making a selection.
Flexibility + convenience
If you have an online purchase option, they can do that to save time, then drop by the store to pick up. If you already (or want to) offer shipping, they can even avoid the trip and wait for delivery. Another incentive for the consumer: they know they will be able to return the item directly to your local store if needed.
How mobile to store works from the shopper’s side
When a shopper clicks in your ad, they arrive on a Google-hosted page for your store, called the local storefront. Shoppers are seamlessly led to the local storefront to view in-store inventory, get store hours, and more. Your ad can also display a thumbnail of your location pinpointed on a map (with a link to a full-size map), plus driving directions to find your store. A live link to call the store appears in the ad as well, making it simple to shop from their smartphone.
Differences between LIA’s and regular e-commerce
Online payment and transaction requirements
Your site is not required to have an online checkout and payment option. If you do offer online checkout and payment, you must adhere to Google’s general merchant website policies, including the posting of return and refund information, etc. Learn more about quality standards for your website here.
Shipping policies are optional.
Since the ads are designed to reach shoppers coming into your physical store, you don’t need to (but may opt to) offer shipping information.
Additional Mobile to Store Features
Google also offers some cool optional features that LIA merchants can leverage:
If your items are available for store pickup and you have this feature enabled, a shopper browsing your Google local storefront page will see a link to your site that has store pickup info. By clicking the link, they will be taken to your website where they can complete the order using the store pickup checkout option.
Merchant hosted local storefront
With this feature, shoppers who click on your local inventory ads are directed to your website instead of to your Google-hosted local storefront. Learn more about the merchant-hosted option.
How Shoppingfeed automates and simplifies the LIA process
Our system connects and synchronizes with your shopping cart platform every 15 minutes, 24/7, ensuring that your product information is always up-to-date, and transmits the data automatically to your LIA account. At any time, you can easily select which products to include in the feed.
Shoppingfeed is the only omni-channel platform that has a full-service LIA setup option, integrated into your online storefront. Shoppingfeed builds its catalog from your storefront, and keeps your inventory synced in real-time across all of your sales channels, while importing and automating your order fulfillment process, all from a single powerful platform.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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