You drive to a store to purchase an item you’ve seen on the store’s website, only to find that it’s not in stock. They tell you the nearest branch that has it is another 30 minutes away.
Yes, you remind yourself, you should have phoned first. But what if the Google Maps listing for that store told you the item wasn’t in stock at that store, saving you a wasted journey?
That’s the case for select retailers in a half dozen countries: Google now allows searchers to find out via Google Maps (or the Knowledge Panel) what products each retail location has in stock. If they click on the “Search items at this store” link they then view a Google landing page that includes all that store’s inventory, with product details uploaded via the Local Inventory ad program.
Why should you care?
Google is working with retailers who have brick-and-mortar stores in the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, and Australia — but not New Zealand. Brands like Ikea, Macy’s and REI are reported to be participating in the ad program, which requires that product feeds be updated at least daily.
Google New Zealand was expecting Google Shopping to be rolled out here long before now, but those plans appear to have been shelved. And because Google Shopping campaigns are required in order to participate in Local Inventory Ads, retailers who only have stores in New Zealand are likely to be in for a long wait. However, Google is inviting retailers to sign up for notification when local inventory ads become available here (or in other countries).
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