“Local inventory ads provide us with a unique opportunity to offer products that customers are searching for and assure them there is inventory in a store nearby,” says Christine Buscarino, Vice President of eCommerce Marketing for Office Depot.
Retailers have always wanted to target foot traffic with relevant offerings. Now they can partner with Google Shopping and utilize local inventory ads (LIA). These ads will display information about product availability in local retail stores. For example, a customer sitting in Starbucks could check and see how many iPhone 6 devices are available at the nearby Verizon store (if Verizon joins the program). This is where smart marketing kicks in. Essentially, this enables far superior shopping experiences for customers by supplying real-time inventory data to inform their shopping needs.
This type of customer experience has been feasible for some time now, but in the past it would have required some heavy integration work. It’s still tough, but it’s a little easier with local inventory ads, and it’s definitely worthwhile to deliver the experience — Office Depot recognized a 3X return on the company’s digital marketing spend after implementing this.
Today’s consumer wants to shop when and wherever they want.
Just imagine the different customer experiences that could unfold: If David’s Bridal could target brides-to-be, they could deliver ads for dresses that could be tried on in-store that day, guaranteed. Petco could offer walk-in grooming by sharing the availability of its scheduling system in real-time. The list of possibilities is nearly endless, with companies being able to target customers based on past Google searches.
We hear and use lot of buzzwords, “omnichannel” being one of them. But instead of using such a buzzword to describe this, we’d rather call this something like, “offering a delightful shopping experience.” Forget about cool smart phones, watches, data integration, or inventory updates. We ultimately want to talk about the end result — a delightful experience.
“Today’s consumer wants to shop when and wherever they want,” says Buscarino. It is perhaps every marketing leader’s mantra behind every marketing initiative. The plugged customer is the customer who will become your biggest advocate if all pieces of the customer journey come together and result in sales. It takes coordination of different teams within the organization to deliver this experience. eCommerce and IT teams have to work together to organize and share inventory with AdWords in a way that would give customers the very latest product information. Like we said earlier, it’s not a piece of cake to set this up — but it does drive results. Customers who are doing product research on their devices are brought one step closer to making a purchase with local inventory ads.
Also interesting to note is the fact that “Store Visits” is part of Google AdWords estimated total conversion. This data will help bridge the gap between customers who clicked, were interested in the product, and actually came to buy in your store. Buscarino said, “We knew our online ads were influencing store purchases, but we lacked adequate metrics to accurately calculate it. Once we saw our Store Visits reports, we were able to attribute a 3X return on spend to our digital campaigns.”