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Provide omni-channel shoppers with relevant, local information

Once you begin to understand the relationship between digital and in-store for your omni-channel shoppers, it’s important to think about reaching them wherever they are and making the experience seamless.

Why? Well, according to our recent research, three in four shoppers who find local retail information in search results helpful are more likely to visit stores.

Online-to-offline ad formats can improve the shopping experience for your customers, making it easy to see your store location, products, and available inventory from within the search ad itself. Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, for example, uses local inventory ads (LIAs) to show customers searching online for a particular item exactly where it is available at a nearby store location, along with local store hours, and other helpful information like directions. According to Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, the result has been a 122% increase in store visits compared to using only Product Listing Ads (which don’t include local store information).

“If people are searching for a product on their phones, there is nothing more targeted than serving that item with a picture, description, and price, while letting customers know exactly how far they are located from the product,” says Buckley. Easy access to this type of information means a smoother path to a brand’s front door. And these results have helped extend the reach of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores’ advertising budget, driving $8 of in-store sales for each dollar invested online. “When we compared our most recent performance of local inventory ads with offline media typically used to drive store sales, such as a recent broadcast television campaign, the local inventory ads returned in-store sales at more than 5X the rate of TV advertising for each dollar spent,” Buckley reveals.

Office Depot also used LIAs to reach its growing base of omni-channel shoppers. "Local Inventory Ads provide us with a unique opportunity to offer products that customers are searching for and assure them there is inventory in a store nearby," says Christine Buscarino, vice president of ecommerce marketing for Office Depot, Inc. The result was a better shopping experience for its customers and a 3X higher return on digital marketing spend for the company.

Julie Krueger
Industry Director of Retail, Google