Five Reasons Why Retailers Should Use Local Inventory Ads

Over the past year, we saw dramatic shifts in the commerce landscape. Online shopping surged, a record number of retailers closed, and the direct-to-consumer model became more prevalent among major brands. Alongside this, the growth of click-and-collect shopping options kept other retailers afloat and helped customers make purchases safely during the pandemic.

Click-and-collect is an umbrella term used to describe the following sales and fulfillment models:

  • Buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS)
  • Reserve online, pick up/pay in store (ROPIS)
  • Curbside pickup
  • Ship-to-store

All of these options are enabled by the integration of your online business and your brick-and-mortar store, and are often part of a successful omnichannel retail strategy. Offering click-and-collect options at your store can be a great way to attract local customers and provide a seamless customer experience.

By using local inventory ads, you can surface inventory and additional store information to shoppers. Google’s local inventory ads show customers if you have a product available in your store when they search for it on Google, assuming they are within a reasonable driving distance to the store (typically between 25 and 35 miles). You can display additional features like curbside pickup to further entice customers to shop local.

Here are five reasons retailers should start using local inventory ads:

1. Click-and-collect is still growing.

According to eMarketer, click-and-collect sales grew by a staggering 106% in 2020 compared to the previous year, and they are expected to keep growing. Click-and-collect is also projected to account for a greater share of total ecommerce sales year-after-year. Five major retailers (Walmart, Target, Best Buy, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s) attributed nearly 42% of their total ecommerce sales to click-and-collect last year. The pandemic was a major driver of click-and-collect shopping because it increased customer safety, but that brings us to the next point…

2. BOPIS is more than a pandemic-induced fad.

More than 55% of consumers in a McKinsey survey said they intend to continue using BOPIS once the pandemic is over. Of course, we don’t know exactly when that will be, but as retailers look to keep pace with their competition, we expect BOPIS to become more widely offered, further increasing its adoption among consumers. More shoppers initially turned to BOPIS for matters of safety, but now they’ve become accustomed to the convenience of the service.

Besides helping customers maintain social distance, click-and-collect solves some pre-pandemic problems with brick-and-mortar shopping, too. Shoppers don’t have to enter a store with the blind hope that the product they want is stocked in the aisle, only to discover that they made the trip for nothing. They also don’t have to wait in line during an unexpected surge of customers. Knowing what you’re getting and then picking it up without a hitch is too convenient to not be habit-forming.

3. Click-and-collect is an affordable same-day delivery option.

According to Business Insider, 48% of shoppers used BOPIS to avoid shipping costs. We don’t have to look any further than the popularity of Amazon Prime to know that customers like to receive their orders quickly. Naturally, expedited delivery means additional expenses for the merchant—not to mention the standard cost of packaging and a fulfillment solution—and these expenses are then passed on to the consumer.

Click-and-collect improves the customer experience in terms of product delivery. When merchants ship a product, there’s always a risk that the shipment gets delayed once it’s in the hands of a carrier who is completely overwhelmed by a huge volume of packages. Even though it’s not the merchant’s fault, customers may feel dissatisfied with the overall experience. With click-and-collect, merchants don’t have to worry about packages being misplaced, or claims that a package was stolen from a doorstep or arrived damaged. Shoppers simply place the order and can have it in less than two hours, without having to really go shopping.

4. Shoppers end up buying more than they initially ordered with BOPIS.

We’ve all fallen victim to the sale-induced purchase we had no intention of making at the store, so chances are you’re among the 85% of shoppers who have made an additional in-store purchase when retrieving a BOPIS order. This option gives shoppers the opportunity to wander the aisles if they’re not too busy, or if they remember something else they need while they’re there. That extra product visibility ultimately means more sales for the retailer. BOPIS also allows shoppers to have more control over the shopping experience and their schedules, which increases customer satisfaction overall.

5. In-store pickup presents more marketing opportunities for brands to promote themselves.

Getting customers to your store is half the battle. Getting them to come back is the other 50%. Click-and-collect helps retailers with the first half of that equation. Once you get more customers into the building, it then becomes a matter of turning people into repeat customers with loyalty programs, promotions, reward points, or directing them to exciting sales with some effective wayfinding and store design. Retailers have the opportunity to create meaningful customer experiences with their store associates. Membership programs can also help retailers collect more customer data for additional marketing down the line.

Sounds great, right? Beware that implementing a click-and-collect strategy is not enough to win customers over. It has to work! If you can’t execute, it’s better not to offer click-and-collect services at all. Providing a solid customer experience without BOPIS is more effective than offering a bad customer experience with BROKE-IS.

So, what’s the best way to ensure a successful click-and-collect program?

Track your inventory, and keep the availability updated frequently. If you don’t sync your inventory feed often enough, you risk a scenario where a customer manages to purchase an item that is no longer in stock. That’s a poor customer experience, so Google has an inventory verification process in place to ensure compliance with its program expectations.

If you’d like to get started with local inventory ads, contact Feedonomics to book a demo and see what our full-service feed management solution can do for you.