Local inventory ads: How to attract customers to your business.
For independent retailers with or without an online shop, ads with local product availability offer the chance to reach out to customers across all channels and attract them to the business.
What are local inventory ads?
Local inventory ads are similar to the classic Google Shopping ads which you see above the search results, the difference being that they display local shops and businesses to customers who are searching for products online. This makes local inventory ads the ideal tool for retailers who want to attract more customers from their local area.
Each local ad features a “nearby” label. Clicking on the advertised product then takes the user to a retail page hosted by Google which contains directions to the business and the product availability, as well as the usual product description.
Local ads are displayed both on smartphones and on desktop computers.
Who should be using local shopping ads?
Local inventory ads are suitable for all business owners who want to expand their customers base. A publicly accessible shop (which doesn’t require an appointment or membership) and the selling of physical products are the two key pre-requisites to be able to place local shopping ads.
Not required: Your own online shop, online payment options or distribution.
With the retail page hosted by Google, you don’t even need your own website. Local inventory ads offer local independent retailers a simple way of generating an online presence, conveniently linking online and offline business. This is a chance to permanently get ahead of the competition – after all, consumers are frequently shopping across multiple channels. Indeed, according to a study by Google, 87% of shoppers research online before physically visiting a shop. So the best strategy for independent retailers is to address customers online first.
The advantages of local inventory ads
75% of shoppers use search engines to research products and services before deciding to purchase. Retailers can use local inventory ads to show their presence and instantly have clear advantages over the online competition: delivery times, delivery costs, product pick-ups and returns procedures are all irrelevant. Instead the customer can experience the product directly on-site and buy it right then and there.
The advantages at a glance:
- Product availability: Customers in your local area can see which products are in stock.
- Google retail site: Promote your business on Google My Business, add important product information and your address. Business owners who don’t have their own website benefit from an alternative online presence.
- Flexible ad planning: Set up your local inventory ads so that they are only displayed during your business’ opening hours.
- Link to online shop: Shop owners who do have an online shop can easily link it to their Google retail page, giving customers the choice between an online or offline purchase.
How to set up local inventory ads
Local inventory ads can be set up in four simple steps. Make sure you have access to the following services: Google My Business, Google Merchant Center and Google AdWords.
- Set up a Google My Business account:
Your retail page is hosted by Google My Business. If you haven’t already, make sure you confirm the location(s) of your business in the first step.
- Create product feeds in Google Merchant Center:
The necessary product data feeds can be set up via Google Merchant Center (one for local product info and another containing availability). Product data feeds can either be retrieved directly from your own website or online shop or uploaded to the account via SFTP, FTP or Google Cloud Storage – or manually. Among other things, the feeds should contain product ID, price, availability, category and condition. It is important that feeds are regularly updated so that customers always have up-to-date information about your inventory.
- Apply for inventory check:
As soon as the feeds have been sent to Google, you can apply for an inventory check in the Merchant Center. Google will then check to make sure that the feeds are technically correct before offering an individual appointment to check your inventory in person. In this way, Google can be sure that the products in your feed are actually available.
- Create local inventory ads in Google AdWords:
Local inventory ads run via Google Shopping. If a campaign already exists, simply tick the box marked “local inventory ads” in the advanced Shopping settings.
Make sure that your Google AdWords and Merchant Center accounts are linked together. Detailed instructions on setting up local inventory ads are available on Google.
Local ads and local SEO
Independent retailers with stationary businesses benefit most from local search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing measures with a local slant. All you need is a Google My Business Account containing business hours, address, phone number and a locally optimized website in order to boost organic traffic. Advertisements with local product availability and search network campaigns with local control in Adwords round off local marketing and help to increase the number of visits to your store effectively.