Google is actively involved in helping local SMBs fight Covid-19 with the supreme force. From Non Profits to Free features, you get everything with Google. Launching features such as Free Google Listings, Actionable YouTube Video Ads, Promoted Pins on Google Maps for Local Businesses has made Promoting Local Small and Medium Scale Businesses highly cost-effective and smart. Additionally, find out about Smart Campaigns and all-new Google My Business features for Small Businesses.
With Free Listings appearing organically over more than one Surfaces Across Google, all you need is an ironclad plan that combines everything offered by Google. It really is a complete package of all you need to survive the effects of Covid-19. Thus, do check out the complete action plan towards the end.
Google helping SMBs fight Covid-19
With so many logical and safety concerning challenges offered due to Covid-19 affecting normal shopping behaviour and etiquette, local customers and sellers are in a state of confusion. eCommerce, though on the other hand is doing as well as it could during these times.
Difficulty in allowing customers to walk in the store and navigate alleys of products, touch surfaces, and stand in lines for checkouts has made the sales near impossible. With Governments taking initiatives for social distancing and zero contact social engagements, what options do the sellers have?
What are People looking for?
This is where the idea of Curbside Pickup comes into play. Buy online and pick it up from the curb with zero contact. Only between February to June, there has been a percentage hike of 3600+ for the term Curbside Pickup for mobile and desktop users alike. As per analysis from Ubersuggest, users in the US searched around 2800+ times for this term in the month of February which increased to 104500+ searches by the end of June. This clearly aligns with the current situation of the global Lockdown state.
Similarly, one would think that people have been always looking for in-stock products online. But, numbers tell a different story. A simple look into the number of searches made with this term tells that, there has been a percentage increase of 410+ between February to June.
In simple words, your customers are looking for the features of Curbside Pickup and In-stock products more rapidly. Now Google has made these terms searchable. Shopping with extreme safety measures and comfort is a possibility.
Google’s Response to this demand in the market
In the update announced from Google, it was made clear that now sellers can apply a small badge on Local inventory Ads and the Organic Free listings with Local Surfaces Across Google program activated, indicating Product Availability in a nearby store.
These badges essentially glorify Zero Contact safe pickups on essential items from nearby stores, when customers want to avoid the delayed delivery hassle. The Pickup deliveries are available with a slot booking to avoid overlapping of customers around the physical stores and breaking of safety guidelines from the Government and Health officials.
Google requires sellers to go through Onboarding for the Store Pickup program. This can be done through the Account Manager and Ads expert team you engage for your company.
The other possible avenue for you to follow through in order to activate curbside pickup availability is through Google My Business. You don’t need to use Local Inventory Ads this way. By accessing the Add or Edit Attributes section of Google My Business Account you can display the features and services you offer. Such as In-store Shopping, Delivery, Curbside Pickup, etc.
These features appear on your Business Profile either in search or in Google Maps. These infinitesimally increase the scope of traffic and customer journeys.
Process and Eligibility of Curbside Pickup
Retailers should know that before the badges start appearing on their Business Profiles, Google is going to verify the details offered by the Retailers.
The eligibility to start the Pickup operation includes:
- You must initiate Local Inventory Ads and make sure that you abide by its guidelines.
- It is essential that you offer either the same day or next day Pickups for the products that have Pick Up services activated on them from the time of order.
- Sellers must try to provide curbside contactless pickup without requiring customers to use an App and prefer the pickup to take place from their store.
The two processes of getting Curbside Pickup indicators on your business listings include:
Through Local Inventory Ads
Google Hosted Local storefront:
A customer sees the Pickup availability in a nearby store on the LIA. On clicking it, they will be taken to a Google Hosted Local Storefront. From there, customers can select Pickup Today and they will be taken to the respective website. Customers will pay for the product online and then pick up the product at the scheduled time from the retail store with zero contact.
The Pickup Today Annotation appears with the distance and instructions to pick the product from a nearby store. This particular thing happens in cellular devices.
Full Merchant Hosted Local Storefront:
A customer sees the LIA or the Listing with local information and Curbside Pickup and clicks on it. Google has the code for Google My Business code of the Merchant associated with the listings and it passes the code which leads the customer to reach the storefront customized Landing Page on the merchant’s website. Here the customer decides to go with the Pickup option from the store nearest to them, pays for it, schedules a pickup time, and then picks up the Product physically from the store.
Understand that the merchant local hosted storefront in Full is meant for a single seller’s storefront and brings the customers directly from the Ads to your store, giving you access to their information and makes it easy to track their experience.
Basic Merchant Hosted Local Storefront:
When a shopper clicks on the LIA with Pickup availability, they are taken to the omnichannel landing page designed by the Seller where the customer has the feasibility to select the store, pay for it online, pick it from the store at the scheduled time. This feature too ensures that you do not have to redirect your customers through a Google Hosted page, ensuring that you get to catalogue your customer’s experience.
Through Google My Business:
When going through this path, you need to declare the ways in which you can tell the customers about the services and features your store has got to offer. Thus, the usual Add or Edit Attributes work here. To do so, log in to the Google My Business account and select the location you want to apply the In-store Pickup option. Then proceed as below:
- Look into the menu, then click Info.
- From there, find Add Attributes click Edit. Search or scroll to find the attribute of your choice and select them.
- Click Apply to save.
What are the Associated Landing Page requirements laid down by Google?
- Any landing page should be designed to represent one and only one Seller’s store irrespective of the device used.
- The Landing page must have either a link or the direct information regarding a Local Storefront with corresponding Store codes from the Google My Business Account. This ensures that the Availability and Prices applicable in the physical store can be auto-updated online.
- It is crucial that sellers get the landing pages designed in a manner that it clearly shows the Pickup Today option right along with the Buy Online CTA to help customers make an educated decision about their purchase.
- Options associated with Pickups, such as Pickup Availability, Method, Same day/ Next Day Pickup, etc., should be highlighted at a stage before the product can be added to the cart.
- It is essential that the complete information about the Store such as its name, location, local product price, availability, etc., immediately on page load. The information display should not require a scrolling event from the customer. It is possible to use the store name and the country immediately and then later when the customer looks for store details or tries to change the store, full information associated with the address can come up.
- Ensure that the local prices are displayed if they differ from the online prices, else try to match them. Google shows the local price in the Local Inventory Ads as well as on the Local Storefront. So you are free to match the price and use just one or display the online price clearly on the Landing Page.
- Ensure that before the product can go to the cart, customers can change the store location, compare prices, see the pickup cutoff time, pickup price is applicable, etc.
- Ensure the feature of either completing the order or reserving them from the website.
- Keep your customers informed via SMS or email about the Pickup confirmation once the order is ready.
For more on Local Surfaces Across Google and Free Listings:
How to get any Marketplace product feed on Google Shopping?
How to submit your Account for Review to Google?
Once you have completed the Feed creation by adding attributes, match the landing page to all the requirements, etc., you become ready to get your account reviewed by Google. You can do this via the Local Inventory Ads Contact us form from Google.
Take the following steps to request a review:
- Select the issue as: I have questions about local inventory ads onboarding process, or implementing additional features.
- Type of Issue as: I want to implement additional features (Merchant-hosted local storefront, Store pickup, On Display to order)
- For the feature of your interest, select: Store Pickup
Add other attributes in addition to Curbside/ In-store Pickups depending upon the nature of your business.
Google my Business features for small businesses:
- Online Care
- Book Appointments
- In Stock
- Business Information in Shopping Tab
- Book Online Classes
- Buy a Gift Card
- Make a Reservation for a Future Appointment
- Order Delivery or Takeout
- Allow the public to report a place as Re-opened and edit information
And so much more.
Rising Retails Category, Grow My Store, Local Opportunity Finder Tools from Think with Google
To help sellers in the digital transformation of their physical stores, Google has come up with plenty of amazing tools that encourage a practical education yielding better plans and strategies for sellers.
Rising Retail Categories
With the Covid-19 pandemic leaving nothing untouched, the whole scene of consumerism is changing unforeseeably at a high speed for the most part. The only possible study is to study the Now. There are new categories emerging, old ones are changing priorities among the consumers and some of the trends are largely different locations wise while others are pretty much the same. There are so many measures, scales, variants, and dynamics that can boggle the mind of even the experts.
To help sellers catch up with these changes, Google has brought forward a tool that offers a complete set of details about popular categories based on the Country and time periods. They explain which category is performing how, on what queries, and in which location. These are also updated daily to bring about the latest ones at the forefront.
Grow My Store
One place to start any process is market and competitive analysis. To see what others are doing then either start from there and try to set yourself apart somehow or use whatever you find effective in your strategies. Google has now launched a Digital Toolkit that helps in performing a thorough analysis of your website against your competitor and gives the report. The Grow My Store Toolkit is available in the US and UK for now.
You are required to paste a URL that you have claimed online for the report to run. It is not possible for anyone to just randomly analyze any website, keeping your performance safe.
Once you paste the URL, declare which industry the business belongs to and its presence online as well as offline.
A tool pretty similar to the one above is Shopping Insight which gives a comparative analysis of all the brandsproducts, and categories across the world and how they are performing.
What are the changes in their performance? And the best thing is that another category, brand or product can be added to get comparable results between the two, at the same time.
Local Opportunity Finder
Another Godsend in the market from Google is the Local Opportunity Finder tool. It helps sellers in getting proper insights on how SMBs can build a powerful profile while using Google My Business to fight the Covid-19.
The suggestions once implemented will give the profile a better opportunity to be found online by local customers. Recommendations such as take your profile in search and maps. Update the business details such as contact number, hours of operation, update profile attributes based on the highest preferred services and attributes that people are looking for. Add links that can provide methods to customers for supporting your business such as Buy A Gift Card or Make a Donation, etc.
Show the availability of products, customer reviews, upload pictures to showcase the business, updates that can be something for customers to engage with, etc., are some of the possible suggestions. Upgrade your stores with one of the eCommerce site builders that best match your niche. And the tool also supplies a list of places where you can take your business for promotions as well as other tools.
A similar tool is Market Finder that provides an analysis of suitable markets for your business around the world as well as local markets before you go global. Gain customized recommendations and insights so that you can improve the business to better match the market requirements. Improve your strategies to acquire attention from the audience with a list of tools intended to help you.
Other tools available for the benefit of sellers are Google Alerts, Consumer Surveys, Test My Site, Marketing Kit, Google Trends, etc.
Google has also expanded the Smart Campaigns to around 150 countries to help the SMBs across the world.
Some of the updates from Google include measures for more particular Industry-specific businesses. For example, now Google has launched Pay-to-Stay Pricing Models for the hotels, where Hotels pay the commission to Google only if the lead appears at their hotel to stay.
The program is temporary for now and whether or not it remains so is still under consideration.
Promoting Local Small and Medium scale Businesses with Google
Google is doing everything they can for Local Businesses across the world. This is logical since getting needs fulfilled from Local Market is faster and simpler. It also eliminates the long delivery process. Thus, some measure by Google attempting to help out the SMBs include:
Local Store Information in Shopping Tabs
Recently, Google Shopping Tab got a massive flow of Free Organic Feeds from Merchants in the US. Just with the help of their feeds in the Merchant centre, Google brought forward their products to be showcased in the Shopping tab and then later expanded to the primary Google Search engine page.
Google also launched Local Surfaces Across Google Program which gave Available Near Me pins to these organic listings free of cost.
Then later came, the Local store listings where customers can select the Curbside Pickup form of shipment and get their products within 24 hours of purchase. This experience has now become more elaborate with Local Store information with a small Picture-in Google Map window highlighting the store location. Other information such as in-stock availability, product carousel, etc. This is available for Free and Paid Listings alike.
In-ad Bookings for Service-based Businesses
Now customers have the opportunity to book appointments for the service-based businesses through the Local Service Ads and not just the Google My Business Listings. Making it easy for them to take action there and then on coming across the Ad. The respective service providers are required to be backed by Google Guarantee Consumer Protection Program.
In an extension of this feature, Google is launching a website dedicated solely to giving a space where consumers can find services, compare them, and then book direct appointments. The site will be available for mobile users in the US only.
Promoted Pins on Google Maps for Local Businesses
Local businesses will have free Promoted pins on Google Maps by the month of September. Customers will be able to click on these pins and see the Local Business information on Google Maps itself or visit their online page to explore the business if they want.
Google will not charge the business for giving them Leads through these pins. Sellers would have to launch Smart Campaigns from Google in order to utilize this unpaid experience.
Credits for Small and Medium Businesses
Google is giving $340 Million in Ad credits to the business that qualifies for the funds. They are doing this in small phases and country wise.
Google Marketing Live Event
Google is running Live events through Videos to educate the SMBs in Ads and associated strategies, what is happening and what is more to come in the future.
Business Messages via Google Maps and Search
Business Messages were so far popular and an excellent method to connect with the customers. They made it easy for the businesses to get in touch with the leads directly, convert them, answer their questions, or soothe their concerns. Now, since Google is known for giving a uniform experience across platforms, the Google Business Messages are also reaching across platforms to Google Search Engine and Google Maps.
This feature is supported by all kinds of businesses. Even the process is now an improved version of its former self. There have been fantastic additions features such as new smart replies, visual product carousels, and uniquely customized welcome messages and a swift seamless transformation from a bot to an actual customer agent without affecting the customer’s experience.
This process takes the brands to the next level of sophistication and enhances the customer experience and journey tremendously.
Actionable YouTube Video Ads with Google
To push a new life into the world’s eCommerce status under the impact of Covid-19, Google has done some amazing things for SMBs. Actionable YouTube Video Ads are one of the marvellous features enabling the Selling and Shopping experience to breathe again.
Now, merchants have the unique opportunity to utilize video ads to generate direct leads for their stores for online and offline storefronts, all the same. These Ads are actionable which is explained by Google as converting your YouTube video Ads into your storefront. Customers can directly purchase a product or multiple products from YouTube itself.
This is done by adding product images along with the Videos so that the video becomes shoppable. Customers can browse through the available images and buy them.
All that a seller needs to do in order to achieve this is to merge the Google Merchant Feeds with Video Ads.
Then sellers can add the CTA button to the selective feeds which they think is popular or which suits their marketing strategy. The CTAs will bring the traffic directly to their product pages.
Video Action Campaign
This one Campaign brings Video Ads to YouTube home, watch pages, and Google Video Partners under one umbrella. Google will also curate a What to Watch Next Feed to focus on any new inventory in the future.
The other option is to add Lead Forms to the YouTube Ads as the CTA. This is a cost-effective technique to bring filtered and qualified leads.
One more remarkable addition to the whole process is now YouTube is a part of the Google Ads Attribution Reports. This might help you in better understanding the Budget definition for Actionable YouTube Video Ads.
Google Partnerships to Help SMBs across the world
In order to aid the Small and Medium businesses to deal with the effects of Covid-19, Google has taken initiatives to partner with several services, tools, and solution providers. These include partnerships with Toast Now, The Ordering.app, Shopify, Hubspot, PayPal, etc.
Recently, Google formed a partnership making CedCommerce a Google Premier Partner in addition to being the official Channel And Feed Partner for Google Shopping Actions Program.
What CedCommerce intends to offer?
CedCommerce is aligning the spirits with Google to better help businesses during these times. What you get with CedCommerce:
- Google Ads Free Audit Report
- Account setup of Google Ads
- Campaign Setup for Shopping Ads
- Campaign Maintenance & Optimization
- Account linking of Google
- Analytics & Google Ads
- Audience Research
- Locations Analysis
- Sales Funnel Analysis
- Experts Consultation on Sales and Strategy
- Designing Marketing Roadmap
- Audience Analysis
- Bidding Strategy Analysis
- Merchant Centre Setup
- Product Feeds Setup
- Google Analytics Setup
- Linking of Google Analytics to Website
- Goals & Conversions setup on Google Analytics
- Campaign Reporting
- Shared Account Manager
Start with 15-days free trial of Google Ads Services with CedCommerce to get Spend Match Voucher on a spend of $150USD through Google Shopping Feed and Actions App or more in terms of Google Ads Credits.
For Details, Terms and Conditions get in touch with the team now!
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