Retailers have been scrambling to adjust to consumer behavior during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Potential customers are spending more time at home and online — shopping has adjusted to this “new normal” as well.
To compensate for lighter traffic in their brick-and-mortar stores, businesses are focusing more on e-commerce solutions than ever before. This trend is almost certainly guaranteed to continue through the holiday season and beyond!
Retailers need to meet consumers where they’re most comfortable shopping. The choices are simple. Businesses that already serve national customers should be prepared to adapt to local consumers as well, with online shopping, curbside pickup, safely planned in-store visits, and deliveries.
In order to help your customers shop safely, consumers want to be able to verify your store hours, check up on your current inventory, and find out about pickup or delivery. A recent survey commissioned by Google revealed that 67% of holiday shoppers said they will confirm online that an item is in stock before going to a store to buy it.* Therefore, retailers need to constantly monitor their online presence for updated information to make it easy for shoppers to locate them, find products, checkout or plan a visit.
It will be important this holiday season for retailers to be able to help local customers find them. Prior to the pandemic, consumers were already adept at researching a store and its products online before actually traveling to the physical location. This season, shoppers will be spending even more time online to research, shop, buy and arrange pickup or delivery.
Along with Google Search, Google Maps has become a vital resource for engaging with potential local customers. Creating a Local campaign is designed to help businesses provide potential customers with information they need to decide when and how to visit their stores. Local campaigns streamline the process for you, making it easy to promote your stores across Google’s properties such as Google Search Network, Maps, YouTube, and the Google Display Network. Just add a few lines of text, a budget, some assets, and the rest is optimized to help customers find you. When creating a Local campaign, retailers can define the store locations they want to promote by linking their Google My Business account or selecting affiliate locations.
Retailers can optimize Local campaigns for store visit indicators like clicks on “directions” or “calls.” Location extensions can also help people find stores by showing ads with the address, a map to the store’s location and the distance.
Consumers will always want to find the best deals, but 66% of online shoppers say they plan to shop nearby to support their local economy as well.* Most importantly, they want to be able to do that safely. Online retailers should seriously consider highlighting all in-stock products, current store hours, and the health and safety policies in effect.
Curbside and contactless buying will increasingly be in demand during the holidays. One of the most popular services retailers can offer consumers is the option to buy online, pick up in store or curbside pickup. It’s important to include this information in your online advertising, so consumers know exactly what inventory items are available for each pickup option.
The 2020 holiday season will undoubtedly be like no other in recent history, but retailers can be prepared by keeping their digital presence at the forefront. For retailers to succeed this holiday and beyond, they will need to ensure that they’re providing every possible tool they can to help their customers shop efficiently and safely. Timely and relevant information that’s easily accessible will be the keys to giving