Search and digital platforms remain absolutely critical to the consumer path to purchase, with the latest research suggesting that shoppers turn to Google more than one billion times per day.

The search engine says that today’s shoppers head online when they wish to discover new products or conduct product-related research, with 48% of shoppers finding inspiration online. For many, Google is a trusted brand and provides a useful way to compare products, check prices and create a short list of appropriate products.

It isn’t all search based however, with 89% of American shoppers citing YouTube as the best source of product and brand related information. Google Images is also a popular resource, with hundreds of millions of shopping searches carried out per month.

Online isn’t just for online purchases

Google, YouTube and other digital sources don’t just ask as gateways to purchase for those who are happy to shop online. They also play a key role in offline conversions, too. As well as helping shoppers to identify the product they wish to buy with product review and demo videos, and easy price comparisons, many shoppers are also using digital tools to ensure a less frustrating bricks-and-mortar experience. Google’s research indicates that shoppers use Maps to find stores nearby and expect to be able to find accurate stock information online.

Business Profiles are a useful tool here too, allowing consumers to verify opening hours and check if a product is available for in-store pickup.

What does this mean for your retail business?

With 41% of shoppers heading to Google to discover brands and products that are new to them, you’ll need to work hard to stand out.

Given the popularity of YouTube and how useful consumers perceive video content to be, creating your own video content and engaging with YouTube creators to share their own reviews and demos of your products can be an effective way to build awareness. Experiment with ad campaigns on YouTube to further engage with this audience.

We also know that shoppers go online when they want to compare products and conduct product research – meaning content which is useful, informative and answers frequently asked questions can help increase conversions.

When it comes to advertising, reach more of the right kinds of people by using audience matches such as similar audiences and in-market audience targeting.

While more people are shopping online than ever before, you can also use your online properties to drive traffic in-store. Keep your Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) up to date with accurate opening hours so shoppers know when they can visit you. With search volume for ‘open near me’ growing by more than 400% in the last 12 months, this is a simple but powerful way to meet potential customers where they want to shop. Have a stock checker available on site too, to avoid shoppers making a wasted journey if you don’t have the necessary inventory. You can also use local inventory ads in Google Ads to stock check and see pickup options.

If you’d like to explore this topic further with more suggestions for how your business can better connect with shoppers online and offline, speak to us today.

Author Rebecca

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