How to Attract Mobile-to-Store Shopping Traffic


E-commerce in general and online marketplaces in particular have gobbled a giant share of retail consumption, eating steadily into sales at brick-and-mortar stores. Local Inventory Ads and the mobile-to-store concept are changing that.

Google, which sees mainly possibilities where others see mainly competition, has developed their Local Inventory Ads program as a means of combining the convenience of online browsing and shopping with the instant gratification of picking up an item at a nearby store at the most convenient –or urgent– moment for the consumer.

What’s in Local Inventory Ads

As we explained in more depth in a previous article, LIAs will display detailed product information to shoppers who are physically nearby. Details such as store hours, inventory level, directions to the store and current promotions may also appear.

Here’s how mobile-to-store shopping works from the shopper’s perspective.

When someone searches for a product on Google and it’s in stock at a nearby location, they might be served a Local Inventory Ad showing where to buy it right now.

Clicking on the ad takes the shopper to the Local Storefront page. There they see the information on product features, as well as current store information.

This is very often sufficient to lure the shopper into the store. Sears enjoyed 122% more store traffic with Google Local Inventory ads compared to Product Listing ads. (Though not enough, probably, to save the company from its other struggles.)

Picture the Possibilities of Mobile-to-Store

Here are some very likely scenarios of highly motivated shoppers, to whom you can serve up LIAs for items they’ve just searched for:

  • They’re about to leave their house to go shopping, and want to find the most convenient place to buy this product before they go out.
  • They’re already out, have been to their usual store, weren’t able to find an item, and decide to do a quick search on their phone to see who else has it before going home empty handed.

  • They’re on their way somewhere distant and realize they’ve forgotten an essential item; it’s easier to find where it’s available nearby, and make a quick detour to your store to pick it up, rather than drive all the way home and back out again later.

  • They’re out doing errands, and realize they may be able to save a stop or two if they can find a few items on their list all in the same vicinity.

  • They’re in the office, shopping online for something they need to bring home that evening. The local inventory ads will show them convenient stores along their route where they can purchase what they need.

  • They have put off buying a product, and no longer have the luxury of waiting for delivery. They have a high intent to buy, and need it fast.

Scratch an itch. Satisfy an urge. Fill a need. Make the sale.

In each of these cases, you’re not just advertising to a casual browser who is thinking of making a purchase sometime in the future. In fact, you’re advertising to someone who wants or needs to buy it right now.  Now THAT’s targeted advertising!

Why will consumers buy local?  If they’re confident in the source.

According to DigitalCommerce360, 8 out of 10 customers are less likely to go to a store if they can’t view available inventory levels online in advance.

Smart merchants using LIA’s have an edge, therefore, when it comes to shoppers on the go, who try to avoid wasting time in stores that may not have what they want. It’s faster than calling ahead, and with all the checkout options like Store Pickup available from LIA merchants, it makes the entire process more efficient for the savvy consumer.

As Google Partners, we at Shoppingfeed see the possibilities for mobile-to-store getting brighter every day. For a full explanation of the program, how to qualify and get your store signed up, see our complete guide, Maximize In-Store Sales With Local Inventory Ads.

Shoppingfeed syndicates product listings on all of the world’s most powerful marketplaces, syncs and refines inventory data with >11M product tags, and automates order fulfillment.