Google Local Inventory Ads: A Retailer’s Key to Digital-Physical Synergy

a screen capture from Google showing how local inventory ads look

Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA) has become an essential tool for retailers looking to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping experiences. Consumers increasingly turn to digital platforms for product research and discovery. Thus, LIA has become imperative for businesses to leverage the power of online advertising to drive foot traffic to their physical store locations. 

This comprehensive guide examines the world of Google Local Inventory Ads. It covers how they work, their benefits to retailers and consumers, the steps in setting up a successful LIA campaign, and the best practices to maximize their effectiveness.

What Are Google Local Inventory Ads?

Google Local Inventory Ads is a specialized advertising format allowing retailers to showcase their physical store’s product inventory to nearby potential customers actively searching for products online.

Unlike traditional online shopping ads that direct users to a retailer’s website, Local Inventory Ads serve a unique purpose by encouraging users to visit brick-and-mortar stores, thereby driving offline sales.

These ads address the growing trend of “webrooming,” where customers research products online before purchasing in-store. By displaying real-time inventory and local store information in response to relevant product searches, Google helps consumers make more informed decisions while allowing retailers to tap into local demand and boost in-store foot traffic.

a screen capture from Google search page showing a local inventory ad for Nike Air Force 1s

How Google Local Inventory Ads Work

Sharing and displaying product information is the key to LIA. Here are some more specifics of how this is made possible:

1. Integration of Inventory Data

Participating retailers must provide Google with accurate product inventory data, including stock availability, pricing, store locations, and other crucial details. This data forms the foundation of Local Inventory Ads, ensuring that the information displayed to users is valid and up-to-date.

2. User Searches Trigger Ads

When users perform product-related searches on Google, the search engine’s algorithms analyze the query and the user’s location data. If a nearby store has the searched product in stock, Google may trigger a Local Inventory Ad to be displayed to the user.

3. Ad Display

The Local Inventory Ad appears in various locations, such as Google Search results, Google Shopping, Google Maps, and the Google Display Network. These ads are often shown to users close to the retailer’s physical store, making it more likely for them to visit the store.

4. Local Storefront Page

Clicking on the Local Inventory Ad takes users to a dedicated “Local Storefront” page hosted by Google. This page provides detailed information about the product, including pricing, availability, product images, and a link to get directions to the local store.

5. In-Store Visit or Online Purchase

Upon reaching the Local Storefront page, users can visit the physical store to purchase in-person or online. This depends on the retailer’s offerings and the user’s preferences.

an infographic on Google local inventory ads setup

Setting Up a Successful Google LIA Campaign

Launching an effective Local Inventory Ads campaign requires careful planning and execution. Follow these steps to maximize the impact of your LIA efforts:

1. Set Up Google Merchant Center

Google Merchant Center is a platform that allows retailers to upload their product data to Google. It is a central hub for managing product information and is a prerequisite for running Local Inventory Ads. Here you can do the following:

  • Set up an account
  • Add information about your business
  • Verify a phone number
  • Add a social profile
  • Choose the “Local Store” checkout option
  • Upload a store logo

2. You Will Also Need A Google Business Profile 

Brick-and-mortar businesses with optimized local SEO should already have Google Business Profiles. If not, you can create one here.

Once you made a Profile, link it with your Google Merchant Center account. Under your Merchant Center settings, click “Linked accounts” and the “Business Profiles” tab.  

3. Ensure Accurate Inventory Data

The foundation of a successful LIA campaign is accurate and up-to-date inventory data. Retailers must regularly sync their product inventory with Google Merchant Center to provide users with reliable information.

Google has the option to integrate inventory through an API. You can also use a text version called a “local product inventory feed.” They have a multistep instruction page for this option. 

4. Verify and Claim Store Locations

Retailers must verify and claim their store locations through Google My Business. This step ensures that Google recognizes the physical stores associated with the retailer and allows the display of Local Inventory Ads when relevant.

5. Create Local Inventory Ads vs. Free Local Product Listings

Local Inventory Ads are paid advertisements that appear prominently in Google search and shopping results, allowing retailers to showcase their products and inventory to a broader audience.

On the other hand, Free Local Product Listings are organic, unpaid listings that display product information and availability. They generally have less visibility than the sponsored Local Inventory Ads.

This decision comes down to exposure versus cost. Experiment and test the two options to see which makes the most sense for your business and budget.

a screen capture from Google showing a mock Google-Hosted Local Storefront for Google local inventory ads
An Example of a Google-Hosted Local Storefront (courtesy of Google)

6. Choose Between a “Merchant-Hosted” Landing Page and a “Google-Hosted Local Storefront”

You can opt for Google to direct customers to your landing page as long as that page is connected to a locally available product. With this option, you can drive more traffic to your website and maintain more control over the brand experience.

You can request a Google-hosted local storefront if you don’t have your own eCommerce store. This option is better suited for local retailers without optimized eCommerce sites.

7. Customize Ad Creatives

When creating Local Inventory Ads, retailers can customize their ad creatives to include essential details such as product availability, locations, hours, and directions. Engaging visuals and compelling ad copy will entice users to visit the store or complete a purchase online.

8. Optimize for Mobile

Given the widespread use of mobile devices, ensure that your Local Inventory Ads are optimized for mobile users. At least half of Google Maps users are on mobile. Thus, mobile responsiveness is critical to providing a seamless user experience and encouraging store visits.

9. Monitor and Adjust Campaigns

Regularly monitor the performance of your Local Inventory Ads campaigns. Pay attention to which products generate the most interest, which locations perform well, and any potential issues with inventory data.

You may also find that the free option isn’t generating enough sales. Use this data to make informed adjustments and optimize your campaigns for better results.

Best Practices for Google Local Inventory Ads

To maximize the effectiveness of your Local Inventory Ads, consider implementing these best practices:

1. Provide Comprehensive Product Information

Ensure your product data includes all relevant information, such as product attributes, sizes, colors, and availability status. The more detailed and accurate the report, the better the user experience.

2. Leverage Local Keywords

Incorporate location-specific keywords into your ad copy to align with user intent. For example, use phrases like “near me,” “in [city/area],” or “close to [landmark]” to target users actively seeking local options.

See also: How To Add Keywords To Google My Business

3. Highlight Exclusive In-Store Deals

Consider promoting exclusive in-store deals or discounts through your Local Inventory Ads to incentivize store visits. This type of promotion creates a sense of urgency and encourages users to visit the store to take advantage of the offer.

a shopper stands in a book store looking at a book with a sales person

Benefits of Google Local Inventory Ads

Google Local Inventory Ads offer several advantages to retailers and consumers, making them a valuable addition to any marketing strategy.

1. Increased Foot Traffic

Local Inventory Ads attract nearby customers to physical store locations by promoting local product availability. This increased foot traffic leads to higher in-store sales and encourages upselling or cross-selling of other products.

2. Improved Customer Experience

Consumers benefit from Local Inventory Ads because they can quickly find out if a product they are interested in is available at a nearby store. This real-time information enhances the overall customer experience and reduces the frustration of discovering that a desired item is out of stock after visiting a store.

3. Competitive Advantage

Not all retailers utilize Local Inventory Ads, giving early adopters a competitive edge. By displaying real-time inventory information, retailers stand out from competitors who rely solely on traditional online shopping ads.

4. Insights into Local Demand

Through Local Inventory Ads, retailers gain valuable insights into local demand and shopping patterns. Identifying which products are most sought-after in specific regions allows local businesses to tailor their marketing and merchandising strategies accordingly.

Conclusion: KORONA POS Powers Better Local Inventory Ads

The most critical aspect of running a successful LIA campaign is to have accurate and accessible inventory data. Luckily, KORONA POS offers the industry’s most comprehensive set of inventory management tools.

Our retail point of sale software integrates with the online marketing platform mapAds to streamline the process of uploading and optimizing a retailer’s presence on the Google Display network. Automate your workflow to sync your in-store inventory with local product ads.

Click the button below to learn more about how KORONA POS simplifies Google Local Inventory Ads.

FAQs: Google Local Inventory Ads

1. What is Google local inventory ads?

Google Local Inventory Ads is an advertising format for retailers to showcase their in-store inventory to nearby shoppers on Google platforms. When users search for products, these ads appear and are designed to drive foot traffic to physical stores by displaying real-time product availability, prices, and locations. Retailers can effectively reach local customers and bridge the gap between online searches and in-store purchases.

2. How do I set up local inventory ads on Google?

To set up Local Inventory Ads on Google, follow these steps:
– Create a Google Merchant Center account and upload your product feed, providing detailed information about your in-store inventory, including availability, prices, and store locations.
– Set up Google Ads and Google My Business accounts and link them to your Merchant Center account. 
– Start a new Local Inventory Ad campaign, specifying your desired target locations and budget.
– Customize your ad formats, choose compelling images, and optimize your ad copy to entice nearby shoppers. 

3. What is the difference between local inventory ads and Shopping ads?

Local Inventory Ads promote local retailers’ physical stores by displaying real-time in-store inventory, prices, and locations to nearby shoppers. On the other hand, Shopping ads primarily showcase products from online stores. 


About the Author

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Shane Ortale

As a history enthusiast, Shane loves reading and writing. He blogs about small businessmarketing and cloud based POS. He is also an avid bird watcher, and Liverpool FC fan.