The BOPIS Trend + Google Local Inventory Ads: Keep Attracting Local Shoppers
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Even before the disruptive force of social distancing measures, the BOPIS retail model (“Buy Online, Pickup In Store”) was already becoming a popular way to to shop because it saves time to just pick something up, especially if you can also pay in advance.
Now it’s become de rigeur everywhere.
About 75% of consumers reported in a recent First Insight survey that the Coronavirus spread has impacted their purchase decisions, and nearly 80% said the Coronavirus emergency has affected the way they buy and acquire things.
Help consumers find your local inventory and buy it in advance, with the help of Google Local Inventory Ads.
The biggest of those behavioral changes is that shoppers are taking advantage of BOPIS-type services to buy things without going in-store. (The name might be temporarily modified to “Buy Online, Pickup Outside Store.”) They’re using curbside pickup, drive-throughs, subscription services, and Autoship to pick up the slack.
One thing that won’t change, and will only accelerate, is the use of the internet to make purchases—including when it’s a local order that needs to be fulfilled quickly. The convenience of online shopping is now a necessity, and will probably catch on to remain a preference. Combining the BOPIS model with Google Local Inventory Ads is one way to keep sales going, even if the store itself must remain closed to foot traffic.
The “S” in BOPIS is taking on a new meaning.
Because of Covid-19, it’s likely the whole concept of what is a “store” will change. It could be a place where you don’t shop, but just pick things up. A curbside, a parking lot, an onsite storage locker, or a drive-through window are the new “store” in many cases, at least until the pandemic ends.
A “store” will also come to mean a “portal.” Overwhelmed employees packing orders can’t also be the ones taking and processing them, which means everyone operating this new kind of store, from your local Chicken shack to where you buy wellness products, needs an app for that. More specifically, they need an e-commerce platform with convenient payment processing.
In at least some retail categories, Google Local Inventory Ads can help stores currently without foot traffic continue to sell goods despite the challenges. If a shopper can search and discover an item they need nearby through a conveniently served ad telling them it’s at your store, in stock, and available for pickup, that’s a strong incentive to buy on the spot — and to make it even sweeter, they can use Google’s express pay portal to get it done fast, with their stored account and payment information.
BOPIS + Google Local Inventory Ads are the winning combination.
BOPIS takes care of the transaction.
In terms of marketing advantage, BOPIS and Google Local Inventory Ads are a way to dominate that segment of the consumer market that needs immediate gratification. With marketplaces like Amazon delaying shipment of “non-essential” goods, and slowed deliveries everywhere due to suddenly high demand, these consumers are hungry for places that can supply them what they want, without a long wait.
BOPIS isn’t just for food and groceries. Any type of store can look at BOPIS as a potential option for continued selling in their local or regional market area.
Even if your brick and mortar store has had to close to in-store shopping, some good e-commerce options still exist. One of the best is to continue shipping, delivering, or offering curbside/parking lot pickup of items directly from your store that are pre-purchased through your e-commerce portal, or in some cases with sales flowing through Google Pay, into your linked account.
LIA’s bring the shoppers into your virtual store.
With LIA’s, local stores have a powerful ally to get their wares in front of shoppers with immediate needs for items that can be obtained the same or next day, or shipped out locally.
When you’re enrolled with Google LIA’s, your product listing pages – hosted in your own storefront, or in one hosted by Google – will be displayed over a search results page whenever a user searches for that item in your local area.
There are plenty of use cases for when a shopper needs something right now, and want to get it locally. Google LIA’s display your store’s products prominently on their screen before they even view the main list of results.
Local inventory ads will show on Google Search and Google Images. Besides those advantages, your products will also appear on the “See what’s in store” knowledge panel on Google Search and Google Maps, for free.
Shoppingfeed has a complete guide to Google LIA’s, who’s eligible, and how to enroll. You can go here to get your free copy.
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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