As the second holiday season unfolds for Google Shopping, merchants can feel confident that this heavily direct-response focused channel will reap substantial rewards during the last few months of 2015.
Here are some key points advertisers should know about Google Shopping and consumer trends going into this holiday season:
Merry Mobile: The Virtual Holiday Shopper
While shopping days like Black Friday will remain big for brick and mortar retailers, online merchants are closing the gap with the help of mobile. People are now using their mobiles as virtual shopping carts and shop assistants, signalling a dramatic change in consumer behaviour.
Online purchases have dramatically increased over the past year thanks to mobile, and it’s expected to continue to rise over the course of 2016. It is the merchants who are advertising on mobile this holiday season that will take their sales to the next level since 40% of holiday shopping now takes place online, and 48% of shoppers indicated that they start their holiday shopping well before Black Friday. Google Shopping is the perfect advertising platform to take advantage of this holiday mobile rush.
Retailers can expect to see a massive shift in the way consumers do their holiday shopping as purchases made via mobile and tablet increase. Shopping is no longer a frantic activity that takes place on a few peak days over the holiday season; consumers are now researching and making purchases while they sip coffee, walk the dog, watch TV or stand in line at the bank. Mobile is creating a space for these “micro-moments,” shopping can occur anytime, anywhere. Inside Adwords suggested, “Shopping moments will replace shopping marathons. There is no longer a sense of urgency since every day is shopping day.”
NMPi Account Director, Leonie Tamkin remarked, “Part of this shift has come from the fact that online we’ve seen such a huge surge in purchases on Black Friday, with more people wanting to be prepared early. Merchants have allocated more of their digital budgets into Black Friday shopping. Black Friday is a time when consumers are going to be searching for the best deals which is where Google Shopping becomes more important as a price comparison tool.”
What’s Missing: Google Shopping Assortment Report
How can retailers take advantage of these shopping micro-moments? By optimising their feeds and staying on top of the latest shopping trends with the newly launched Shopping Assortment Report, merchants can review and refine the products they are offering. The report displays the most popular items that competitors are showing ads for, and gaining traffic from, that aren’t in their product feeds. It also provides information on the benchmark prices for these recommended items.
This information will be vital as the holiday season kicks into high gear as it gives merchants important information about potential missing revenue that can be easily recouped by adjusting their product range and stocking that product. Merchants can review the last 14 days of activity on the Shopping Assortment Report to determine what’s working, what they’ve missed, and note changes or trends occurring over the holiday season. The report also encourages more fluidity between digital and buying teams from the advertisers’ side because these reports can help shape buying strategies.
Online Activity and In-Store Holiday Purchases
Retailers looking for a successful holiday season must blend their virtual and physical presence. Online activity and in-store activity are no longer separate segments of the path to purchase. Consumers are seamlessly combining online and in-store activities blurring the line between online and offline purchasing.
Google Shopping has honed in on this trend with local inventory ads that provide consumers with important details such as stock availability, location, and product detail at their local stores when they’re on the move. This feature goes hand in hand with the increasing trend of researching online, then purchasing offline. It’s also a great method to drive footfall for the purchase of products that require more consideration. Google Shopping has also made mobile purchases even easier by implementing a feature that allows customers to swipe over the desired product to reveal relevant information. This could translate into an increase in holiday sales.
Brick and mortar stores have increasingly become distribution centres where holiday shoppers come to retrieve online purchases. Merchants eager to increase their take this holiday season need to adjust their marketing strategies to align with these trends in consumer behaviour, while continuing to provide a convenient and personal shopping experience.
Google shopping can offer a big boost to retailers this holiday season if merchants heed these changes in shopping habits. 87% of consumers do their research online first before finalising a purchase in-store. By understanding this change in consumer behaviour and the growing impact that mobile has on the way people shop, Google shopping gives merchants the opportunity to take advantage of these micro moments, the popularity of location based shopping, and to keep on top of product trends.