Two new features give local merchants added ways to market online.
Thad Rueter , Senior Editor
Google Inc. has released two features for its Product Listing Ads designed to give shoppers a better idea of what local merchants are selling. The image-heavy ad format, introduced last summer, appear among organic listings when a consumer searches for a product. They replaced what had been free listings.
Google said today it has begun rolling out “local availability” for Product Listing Ads, or PLAs, according to a blog post from Paul Bankhead, senior product manager for Google Shopping. The ads will appear on personal computers and on mobile devices used by consumers searching for products via Google. “When someone searches for a product on Google, she may see a Product Listing Ad for a local store,” Bankhead writes.
The second feature concerns what happens when that consumer clicks on the local ad. “She’ll arrive at a local storefront where she can browse a large selection of the store’s inventory before she visits in person,” Bankhead writes. “Someone searching for a new fragrance may see an ad letting her know it’s available at a new store.”
That same consumer, after clicking the ad, also could see similar items in stock, store hours and directions. She can also call the store or visit its e-commerce site from the Google local storefront, he says.
To take part, retailers manage product feeds through the Google Merchant Center and pay on a cost-per-click basis. Google says it offers separate reporting for local clicks for retailers.