Google Starts Adding Back Features for Local Stores in Reopening Phase
Finally, there’s an additional Hope from Google for small businesses and non-profits looking to get back on the track and recover from the losses or lag due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In its recent blog, Google announced many features and updates intended to help small and brick-and-mortar businesses recover as local economies begin reopening.
Focusing on some of the ways how consumer behavior is changing during the pandemic, Google mentioned that local searches for ‘in-stock’ and ‘curbside pickup’ have increased by more than 70% in recent months. And searches for local stores and businesses are up by 50%.
The pay-to-stay pricing model for hotels
Along with the details below, Google made a significant shift in its travel offering this spring, it allows hotels to choose a pay-to-stay pricing model with Google where Google will get a commission only when people show up for their stay.
“We wanted to move to a model where we could have incentive alignment during this really difficult time with our hotel chains and our individual hotels,” says Jerry Dischler, Google Ads lead in an interview.
For now, its a temporary change, and Google will continue to test more features. Dishler added that it released the functionality in about 10 days after talking with travel advertisers.
Shopping tab gets local stores details
Retailers now have another reason to update their Google My Business listings and prepare local product feeds. Starting from 17th June, Google Search Shopping Tab will feature local store information like locations, product availability, and options like delivery and curbside pickup, etc. (Limited to countries & availability).
In April, Google started adding free listings to Google Shopping when the outbreak started. The local inventory details will be made available for both free listings and ads in the Google Shopping tab.
A new feature ‘curbside pickup’ is also being tested in Local Inventory Ads by Google from May which adds visibility to retailers in searches.
In-ad bookings from Local Services Ads
Along with phone calls or sending message leads, consumers can also book appointments to avail services with some providers right from their mobile Local Services ads.
Just get in touch with Google’s booking partners and enable this service for your brand. You can then enable bookings and appointment time changes in your account. Google Guarantee should back your brand for the consumer protection program to avail of these new booking features.
A local services consumer site
In the USA and Canada, Google will also launch a mobile site for users to find, compare, and appointments with local service providers at the end of June or in July.
Free Promoted Map pins for Smart campaigns
For small businesses, automated campaigns can help them quickly launch around various Google properties to acquire more phone calls, visits, and requests for directions. In or around September, Google will show Promoted Pins for advertisers for Smart Campaigns and advertisers won’t be charged for the clicks on pins. These pins in Google Maps include a logo for the business category. When users click on pins, it will reveal business listing information.
“The idea is as local markets open up and shelter-in-place orders are lifted, if you’re using Smart campaigns for your small business, then we’ll drive traffic to your in-person locations … and we’re not going to charge you for that,” said Dischler.
Using Google Ads app, Small Businesses can set up new Smart Campaigns easily.
Grow My Store is a new tool launched for small businesses to compete with other stores and get tips on improving online presence. This tool is available in the Europe and USA.
Google will also provide a new Local Opportunity Finder Tool this week to augment businesses’ Google My Business profiles.
In May, Google launched its Rising Retail Trends tool for local retailers to observe product searches.
All in all, Google is ready to support and lift local businesses willing to get back on track and recover from the situations.
If you are a local business owner, get in touch with Evincera’s expert LOCAL SEO team and we will help you augment your local business profile on Google.