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Google Launches “Curbside Pick-Up” Offering For Businesses

Latest COVID-19 Update Facilitates Contact-Free Options

Google has released yet another valuable update to help local businesses during COVID-19: a curbside pickup indicator.

The latest update builds upon Google's existing merchant features, allowing businesses to show if they have products in-stock, in-store, and then if items are available via contactless pickup by the roadside.

Since while ecommerce has mushroomed during the global lockdown period, significant shipping delays are common, making many online purchases impractical.

In fact, according to Google, searches for "in-stock" grew more than 70% globally from the week of March 28 to April 4, as consumers sought to work around online delivery bottlenecks. 

Using local inventory ads, retailers can show users whether products they are searching for are available nearby for store pickup. If they are, the new curbside beta feature places an indicator at the top of your ads, letting shoppers know they can take advantage of contactless pickup (see left image above).

To be eligible for the curbside pickup feature you must:

  • Enable store pickup
  • Provide a curbside or contactless pickup option to shoppers who purchase products on your website and prefer to pick up at your store 
  • Allow curbside or contactless pickup without requiring shoppers to use an app

This feature is available in the countries where local inventory ads have launched: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

Communicating COVID-19 Service Updates Via Google My Business  

Even without local inventory ads in place, it is possible to communicate adjusted service offerings due to COVID-19, such as curbside pickup, via an organisation's Google My Business profile (see right image above).

Something which would be especially handy in New Zealand where local inventory ads are not yet live.

If your business is affected by COVID-19, update your Google My Business profile to provide the most accurate information to your customers. You can give updates on your business to customers such as:

  • Your adjusted hours of operation, for instance, if you close early.
  • If your business services are experiencing delays.
  • Extra services you are providing for the community.
  • If your business is "Temporarily closed".

The updates will show on your Business Profile on Google Search and Maps.

Marking your business "Temporarily closed" won't affect local search ranking, and it will be treated similarly to open businesses.

Businesses offering pickup or delivery services should not mark the business as "Temporarily closed," otherwise those services won't show on Google. 

On top of this, it would be wise to consider updating, or applying in the first place, Local Business structured data to your website.

With Local Business structured data, you can tell Google about your updated business hours, different departments within a business, reviews for your business, and more.

When users then search for businesses on Google Search or Maps, the results may display a prominent Knowledge Graph card with details about your business that matched the query. Notifying customers with your latest COVID-19 related changes, provided you have applied and/or updated the structured data.

Making The Most Of Of Local Inventory Campaigns  

Local inventory ads have been around for a few years but got rebooted, and a bit of an upgrade in 2019 as Google looks to go toe-to-toe with Amazon in the retail space.

Local inventory ads showcase your products and store information to nearby shoppers searching with Google.

When shoppers click your ad, they arrive on a Google-hosted page for your store, called the local storefront. Shoppers use the local storefront to view in-store inventory, get store hours, find directions, and more.

The local inventory ads curbside pickup badge is currently in beta and available to advertisers who have completed the onboarding for store pickup.

To use the store pickup feature, you must have live local inventory ads. In addition, for each product that you opt-in to store pickup, you must offer same day or next day pickup from the time the order is placed.

Google's latest curbside pickup feature, builds upon a rapidly expanding set of tools which materially improves the ability of businesses to trade during these challenging times.

Taken in conjunction with Google's opening up of Shopping campaigns to organic product listings, Google is leading the way following the outbreak of COVID-19, with new marketing products and features which really move the business needle.

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