How Google Shopping Will Affect Local Shoppers

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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Have you ever heard of “webrooming” before? It’s what many of your potential customers could be doing this holiday season. Instead of going online with the intent to purchase a product through your online store, many consumers will use Google as a research tool and purchase local products.

This isn’t great news if your business is online only, but even if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar location, there are still actions you can take to optimize for webrooming. Since this has such a huge impact on all shoppers, you want to make sure you know how to take advantage of it.


Webrooming—What It Is and How It’s Affecting eCommerce

Webrooming is the practice of researching a product online and then proceeding to purchase the product in-store. It is essentially the opposite of showrooming, in which a consumer looks at the product in-store and then decides to purchase it online.

The webrooming trend has been around for a while now, but it has only recently begun to take off. Despite many people’ complaints that brick-and-mortar stores are on the decline, research suggests otherwise. In fact, webrooming is the preferred choice among shoppers with over 90 percent of global purchases occurring offline.

As mentioned, this isn’t what eCommerce merchants want to hear, but, whether you have a physical store or not, you can significantly improve your online visibility by taking advantage of Product Listing Ads.

Why Online Retailers Need PLAs

Product Listing Ads have become one of the most powerful forms of advertising for online merchants, which is why we are so excited about helping clients optimize their Google Shopping campaigns. In fact, PLAs are expected to account for more than half of retailer’s paid search clicks by the end of 2016.

PLAs can increase both online and in-store product visibility, making them critical for both eCommerce and brick-and-mortar stores. Rather than use keywords to match products to a searcher’s query, Google Shopping PLAs use your existing Merchant Center product data to dictate how and where your ads show.

This distinction is important because when webroomers search online, they know exactly what product they are searching for. PLAs give online retailers the ability to promote their products using image-heavy ads with product details such as price, description, and reviews. This is great for the consumer who is comparison shopping for the best product while also beneficial to retailers who want to increase product visibility.

Push In-Store Transactions with PLAs

If you do happen to own a physical store, there is no question that you need to be using Google Shopping ads. According to a comScore study, 78 percent of local-mobile searches resulted in an offline purchase. Local shoppers know what they want and are performing “on the go” searches to research a product before they buy it in-store.

Google Local Inventory Ads help brick-and-mortar businesses appeal to on-the-go search traffic by promoting in-store inventory and giving consumers the information they are looking for, leading to more in-store sales.


Last May, Google updated its Local Inventory Ad features. Consumers now have the option to “search items at this store” when they are given Local Inventory Ads and can search for specific products within the store’s inventory.

The Possibilities of PLAs Are Endless

The potential payoff with Google PLAs is huge. For example, retailers with brick-and-mortar stores can use both regular PLAs and Local Inventory Ads at the same time, doubling their exposure to online shoppers. Retailers can also push local shoppers to either buy from their physical store or purchase the product online by controlling their Local Inventory Ads and regular PLAs. Google Shopping can influence local shoppers in many significant ways, and your business can reap the benefits with a strong PLA strategy in place.

Final Words

It doesn’t matter if you have a physical store or not. Google Shopping can greatly boost the online visibility of your store’s products. Affordable and effective, Product Listing Ads are a great way to capture a consumer’s attention and send them wherever you want them to make their final purchase.

That being said, setting up and managing a PLA campaign can be tricky for many retailers. If you’re ready to take advantage of the benefits of Google Shopping, Visiture can perform a free audit of your eCommerce store and help get your PLAs off the ground.

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