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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Google has been rapidly releasing new tools to assist shoppers looking for contactless pick-up options, delivery, and keep consumers up-to-date on frequently changing business hours or closings and openings. 

Now, the company has released a way for retailers to easily signal that they provide curbside pickup for products appearing in Local Inventory Ads. 

Delivery Is Overwhelmed, Consumers Shift To Pickup Options

With many stores across the country closed, many shoppers quickly turned to online retailers like Amazon to find their necessities and enjoyment during quarantine. Unfortunately, this led to shipping being massively overwhelmed, creating delays of up to a month for any product deemed “non-essential.”

Google says this situation directly contributed to a 70% global increase of searches for “in-stock” products within just one week from March 28 to April 4 and has continued to be an important search query for shoppers. 

While the company doesn’t provide specific data, it also suggests that searches for “curbside pickup” have been elevated since late March. 

How To Add Curbside Pickup To Local Inventory Ads

To help advertisers alert customers to alternative pickup or delivery options, Google has implemented a new label for products shown in Local Inventory Ads available with curbside delivery. 

The label is a small but significant badge for many shoppers, even as businesses reopen across the country. 

Although technically still in beta, Google announced it was opening the badge to all advertisers running Local Inventory Ads who have completed the process of onboarding for store pickup. 

Because it is still in beta, accessing the feature also requires a few unique steps. Specifically, advertisers must contact a Google Ads rep or fill out this form.

The new tag is available to all eligible advertisers anywhere Local Inventory Ads have been launched, including Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the U.S.

If you do not fit the criteria for this feature or are not utilizing Local Inventory Ads, the company notes that you can still use your Google My Business profile to notify shoppers to curbside pickup or delivery options by adding these attributes to your listing. 

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Google is rolling out a new update to its Local Inventory Ads that let allows searchers to browse in-stock products when they search for a business. That means if a users searchers for your business, they could browse your inventory straight from Google.

So far, the new features are limited to a small number of retailers, such as Macy’s and Ikea. However, it is expected to continue spreading to businesses of all sizes in the coming months.

The update is not a surprise, as Google announced the expanded features utilizing their its Knowledge Graph and Google Maps back in May. However, it was first spotted this week by Nicolai Helling who captured a few screenshots of what it looks like out in the wild.

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With the new features, you’ll see a new line in the Knowledge Panel underneath your NAP (name, address, phone number) information which says: “Search items at this store”. You can also find this in Google Maps underneath the store’s hours.

If a user clicks on this, they’ll be taken to a page hosted by Google where you can refine exactly what item you are looking for. If they select a specific product, they will then be directed to a dedicated page product information as well as information about where to purchase the product online or in store.

To use the feature as it rolls out, you will need to be signed up for Google’s Local Inventory Ads program and be running ads with your products and inventory information.