Google adds ‘local storefronts’ to shopping search

08/10/2013

Google is ramping up its local features on its shopping search tool, listing local storefronts and product availability for desktop and smartphone users.

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Under the new system, which is currently in beta test phase in the US, when a user searches for a product on Google, they may now see a ‘Product Listing Ad’ from a local store, and land on a local storefront page when they click it.

From there, the user will be able to browse the local store’s inventory. The listing also features an embedded Google Map with directions, as well as a phone number and store hours.

Both local PLAs and local storefronts are powered by a local product feed uploaded to Google Merchant Centre.

These local shopping ads are currently only available to a limited number of retailers, but Google hopes to expand that soon.

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“Both local availability for Product Listing Ads and the local storefront are based on a local product feed managed through Google Merchant Center, which allows retailers to provide users with up-to-date, item-level price and availability information for each physical store,” says Google Shopping senior product manager Paul Bankhead. “Participating retailers pay for clicks on the Product Listing Ad to the local storefront on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis. All clicks and interactions on the local storefront are free. Retailers can also see separate local click performance.”

“These local features help retailers leverage the scale of Google Shopping to market items sold in their physical stores,” he adds. “They’re currently available to a limited set of US retailers, and we look forward to making them more widely available in the coming months.”

Pricing and bidding process

Google says currently on desktop, Local PLAs are served as annotations on online offers, so there isn’t direct competition between the two.

On smartphones, however, there is competition as local offers may be served in a given position instead of the online offer.

Advertisers can use the proximity bidding feature in AdWords to improve the position of local offers when a user is near their store.

A Google spokesperson also notes that quality score is a significant component of ad position in Local PLAs just as any other AdWords ad.

As with regular online PLAs, clicks from local PLAs to the local storefront are charged on a cost-per-click basis. All actions, including calls, made from the local storefront are free. Google will provide click performance reporting by location.

Local merchants who wish to participate in the new features are encouraged to fill out a form here.

Read the official blog here

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