How Google Local Inventory Ads Are Performing for Retailers


Google Local Inventory Ads are becoming the perfect solution for omnichannel retailers. In today’s world, many in-store purchases begin online, and more and more frequently they’re made from mobile devices while shoppers are on the go.

The e-commerce storefront is not just an independent sales channel, but often a co-dependent one: do the shopping and make the selection online, and pick it up in the local store.

With Google Local Inventory ads, merchants can attract this style of shopper and get their wares in front of them before the shopper ever sees any offers from the competition.

Since the LIA program first had its beta rollout a couple of years ago, the empirical evidence of its effectiveness is being documented and reported by several of the early adopter brands. We’ve got a sampling of that performance data to share, but first let’s give a quick review of how the Google LIA program operates.

What are Google Local Inventory Ads?

Google Local Inventory Ads direct online shoppers searching on Google to local products and their corresponding nearby physical retail stores. In other words, Local Inventory Ads help retailers showcase their local brick-and-mortar inventory to online customers in close proximity. See our previous post for a fuller explanation of the program and how it works.

Consumers who browse and investigate online to find the best deals and then get them in-store enjoy the ability to get it now, without shipping costs. And since the retailer is driving traffic to their physical store, it keeps the sale. Google Local Inventory Ads show online shoppers what items are in-stock, nearby, and available for immediate pickup.

LIA Options

There are different types of LIAs with various features, including “store pickup” and “ship to store.” Popular LIA types include “Google-Hosted Local Storefront” and “Merchant-Hosted Local Storefront.” The main difference between the two is that the GHLS requires a user to click a button to get to your online storefront, whereas the MHLS has an automatic redirect.

There’s also a MHLS Basic option which displays a product landing page and a list of store branches where they can click over to find out the product’s price and availability.

Success with a Google Hosted Local Storefront

SportScheck is Germany’s leading sports retailer. Like REI in the United States (another brand that’s using LIA’s in their marketing), SportScheck makes it easy for customers to shop both on- and offline with traditional catalogs, an online store, a mobile app, and many brick-and-mortar locations throughout Germany.

Initially, SportScheck ran individual local inventory ad campaigns with geo-targeting set to a five-kilometer radius around each store’s location. Then, the marketing team increased mobile bidding to ensure the ads got in front of all relevant shoppers on the go.

Measuring SportScheck’s results for Google Local Inventory Ads

After running its Google local inventory ad campaigns, SportScheck measured store visit conversions. Store visit conversions—which measure the aggregated statistics of Google users who click on a company’s search ads and then visit a local store—showed the program to be working.

SportScheck did an extensive drill-down. They used Google Analytics to monitor key metrics on the local storefront page: share of engaged users by device, how many used the click-to-call buttons, and how many looked for a store’s directions. These insights guided the store in optimizing its campaigns toward in-store visits.

In just seven weeks post-launch, SportScheck saw a 108% increase in in-store visits, and their offline revenue more than doubled for traffic generated by the LIA campaigns.

Success with a Merchant Hosted Local Storefront

When retailers use the full Merchant-hosted Local Storefront package, they can direct shoppers directly to their website product landing page. With MHLS packages, brands gain better control of consumer information, allowing them to track and monetize the shopping behaviors of their customers–especially with regard to mobile shopping.

This holiday season, Adlucent, a digital marketing services agency, helped one of their clients grow mobile shopping to where it became the most significant volume driver across the board. Mobile shopping accounted for 78% of clicks and 61% of total orders during the key 2019 holiday shopping days.

In addition, mobile activity increased by 79% over the prior year’s click volume, and resulted in a 93% growth in orders.

Merchant hosted sites give retailers more control over their product pages.

Simple changes in the LIA strategy helped this retail client increase revenue at higher efficiency. After switching from Google Hosted to a Merchant Hosted package, in mid-October 2019 before the holiday season, the client achieved higher-than-expected volume for buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS).

This retailer credited much of their overall 2019 holiday success to LIAs, which accounted for 33% of online revenue. LIAs over the holiday season also resulted in a 28% lower cost per click (CPC).

What’s the deal? Learn more about Google Local Inventory Ads

Shoppingfeed has a detailed guide to Google Local Inventory Ads, showing exactly how they work, and how to get set up in the program. Click here to get a free copy.