Google Shopping is one of the most popular platforms for consumers shopping online, with many shoppers beginning their purchase journey with a Google search. But as consumer preferences skew toward supporting local and independent businesses, Google has updated its Shopping function to allow for greater filtering and more relevant search results.
The addition of a “Nearby” filter on the Google Shopping results page is designed to highlight the retail options within a specific radius of the user’s location. Alternatively, shoppers can add the words “near me” to their search, in order to automatically pull up the results that are available in their area. When combined with the “Discover” feature, which spotlights smaller retailers, this can be used to locate local businesses.
This supports the growing consumer interest in supporting independent businesses, particularly in light of the financial pressures faced by many during the pandemic. Many of these businesses are new to e-commerce and so are still establishing a web presence. By partnering with Google Shopping, they can now gain targeted exposure with shoppers who want to spend within their community.
The Shopping function also can show shoppers the available inventory at a particular store, as well as its opening hours, before they make a trip. And delivery options, such as curbside pickup, in-store pickup or home delivery, are also all displayed on the retailer’s information panel. This gives shoppers greater visibility into the range of services open to them, which can inform their ultimate selection.
“Shopping in person comes with new challenges these days, but luckily stores are making it easier to adjust,” announced Google on their blog. “And if you’re a local business interested in helping shoppers find your store hours, locations, products and pickup options on Google, you can create or update your Google My Business profile or upload your local product feed through Google Merchant Center.”
These new features are designed to help Google compete with other online marketplaces like Amazon, Shopify and Facebook. The introduction of new e-commerce platforms within those sites, such as Shop by Shopify and Facebook Shops, has made it easier for small businesses to create an e-commerce presence. Through additions like the “Nearby” filter, Google is expanding its offering for this market.
“We’ve seen Google searches for ‘curbside pickup’ and ‘safe shopping’ increase tenfold in the last few months,” said the Google blog post. “And while you may want to support the stores nearby that have opened their doors, figuring out the best way to do so can be challenging. We want to help take away some of the unknowns when it comes to shopping in person.”