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How to Showcase your Business on Local Inventory Ads

Danielle Collard
21 May 2024

If you’re reading this article, you’ve seen local inventory advertising. Anyone that’s been on the internet in the past five years has seen it, although they may not know it. Local inventory ads are under the radar: subtle sellers that can make sure anyone who wants what you sell knows they can get it from you. But what are they and how can you get them?


What are Google local inventory ads?

Local inventory ads (or LIA for short) are shopping adverts that appear in response to search queries. For instance, when someone searches for camping gear in Google, relevant shops that sell camping gear will have their camping products appear. These are usually in shopping ads beneath the search bar or to the side of search results. An interested customer will then discover the same of your local store and how close it is to their current location.

This makes local inventory ad campaigns a quick way of gathering new customers. A consumer may recognize a need one moment, search the product the next, and be on the way to your shop to buy it a few seconds later.

The adverts themselves tend to be very simple. On Google, it can be as simple as the name of the product, business, price, and image. But there are different kinds of LIA, adapted to different web pages and devices.

Mobile-based streams may have smaller videos, whereas default image-based ads may have room for more copy. Whichever format is being used though, there will always be a call to action (CTA) button to take the interested customer through to a purchase or store information page.


How to set up Google shopping local inventory ads

If you’re looking to get started with LIA, you’ll need both a Google Business account and a Google Merchant account. Both have their benefits and while advertising will unsurprisingly have a cost, Google does not charge for having either kind of account.

Google Business is useful even by itself as it makes you visible on Google maps, and helps the public obtain basic information about your business and leave Google reviews.

Once you’ve set that up, you’ll want to begin with Google Merchant. It’s worth noting that you may also like the local inventory ads Facebook provide, especially if you’re focusing on your social media presence. Both Google and Facebook make it relatively straightforward to set up ad spaces.

For instance, on the Google Merchant Center there is a 12-step process with detailed instructions to follow for anyone to use entitled Local inventory onboarding guide.

This involves linking your business profile to your new merchant account to tell Google your physical store location and inputting information such as the store name as it will appear on adverts. 

The bigger task is uploading product data to your Google inventory. This is necessary so Google doesn’t advertise something you’re not selling. Google will require product images for the ads (so be sure to choose your favourite photos!) as well as the product name and several further pieces of information.

Online and in-store sales

Whether you’re an online retailer or not, LIA will be very useful for your business. You will need to clarify during setup whether all your products can be bought online or not, and may need to do a separate setup for your online store as well, in addition to any locations where you don’t sell your products. This ensures you have an accurate Google local product feed.

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Advantages of local inventory ads

The number of Local inventory ads Google sold has risen dramatically in recent years, with many consumers expecting to find the products they want via the internet with just a web search.

When consumers search on Google or Facebook, the programs will choose a few select versions of the specific product from those available. These will be all the customer sees. Making sure your product is one of those makes it much more likely that the customer will choose your business to buy from.

The success of this form of advertising has seen the rise of NearSt too, a company that keeps your stock levels up to date and informs businesses what locals are searching for so you can adjust your stock to match local internet traffic.

For businesses that cannot currently afford to have their own website, all of this makes having an online presence much cheaper. Customers in your area who search for one of your products will be told you’re nearby, where to find you, and how much the product costs. 

Local inventory ads are a proven way to increase footfall in-store, and to make first-time customers aware of your business. This gives you the opportunity to turn new faces into the loyal consumers that fuel your business.

Hitting the target

If there’s one thing that has changed about advertising in the 21st century, it’s that more advertising aims at specific consumers with very precise interests. The rise of the data industry has seen advertisers expect more interest from every advert they purchase.

Local inventory ads are the perfect example of this. Businesses only purchase the advert once the potential buyer has already expressed interest in the product. 

This is the complete opposite of older advertising methods, like purchasing magazine space when readers will have vastly divergent consumer needs. LIA is targeted, efficient advertising that is far more likely to get you sales than other forms of ad you may be considering.


When and where: it’s your choice

One of the most crucial decisions you’ll need to make when beginning LIA is how far afield you wish to advertise. On Google Merchant,  you can choose to only purchase adverts for your products when the search is made within a mile of your business. This is perfect for urban retailers without an online presence as the customer can easily walk to your location.

Businesses in rural areas or with a more significant portion of online sales may cast a much wider net. Rural areas will see a much smaller frequency of searches due to a less dense population, and most customers will arrive by car. This makes restricting yourself to a one-mile radius counterproductive.

Given that so much local inventory advertising is based around making the sale there and then, you can also restrict ad purchasing to the hours your business is trading, or even quiet periods if you’re looking for a boost during long afternoons. Although the algorithm completes the search in milliseconds, you can predetermine the types of ad inventory you wish to pay for. Where and when you advertise are two of the most important questions you’ll need to answer.


A world-class POS to show you mean business

If you’re looking for a way to show the quality of your business, a world-class Epos Now solution is the best choice you can make. Benefit from:

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Get in touch with our team on 1-844-662-9966 or take a look at our retail solution to find out more!

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