Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has traditionally been seen as a tool to drive online sales. However, with developments in technology – and the way in which we can track the customer journey – PPC is also becoming an important tool for driving in-store sales.
With growing numbers of high street stores reporting profit losses and a number going into administration, it is vitally important to ensure that digital marketing is being used to drive footfall in-store. This week alone we have seen New Look report a £74.3m loss and Poundworld enter into administration.
Digital channels, in particular paid search, play a huge part in the consumer research and buying process. Developments to online advertising in the last few years are helping retailers understand consumer shopping habits better than ever before, even though the path that customers are taking to purchase a product is becoming increasingly complex.
So, how can online advertising help to drive store sales? The first place to start is Shop Visit Conversion in Google AdWords.
Google gives selected advertisers access to Shop Visit Conversion, a tool included in the AdWords platform which allows you to gain insight into how your paid search activity is impacting footfall in-store.
This tool helps retailers to analyse how many ad clicks and viewable impressions influence people’s decision to visit the physical store; it includes in-depth data such as which keyword delivered a store visit and how many days it took a user to visit your store from an ad click.
Shop Visit Conversion data is based on anonymous, aggregated statistics, creating modelled numbers using current and past data from smartphone location histories. This data then provides you with the number of people who clicked on or viewed your ads and then later visited your store.
This data will help you understand which of your ad campaigns and keywords resulted in the most people visiting your store, from here you can optimise your account accordingly to increase ROI. However, it’s worth noting that this doesn’t guarantee that someone then bought a product – just that they visited after clicking on or viewing an ad.
Research from Google reports that in the UK 50% of customers who searched locally on their smartphone visited a shop within a day, therefore Shop Visit Conversions is a vital tool for retailers to take advantage of to drive store visits.
The above relies heavily on customers being able to find you easily so the first step is to ensure that your Google My Business account is set up correctly – make sure your account includes details such as opening hours, images, website link and contact information.
From here, there are a number of tools in Google AdWords that you can use to drive footfall in-store. Firstly, look to reach local customers with location targeting. Put simply, location targeting limits the geographic areas in which your ads are shown.
If your shop is located in Watford then you may not want to show your ads across London, but there is a way around this if you do want to capture people from across the city. By using location extension targeting this allows your ad to appear in a wider area. However, by setting a smaller radius around your store and using a higher bid on searches performed within it, you are more likely to show up when someone searches for what your store offers when they are close enough to visit.
Another tool that should be taken advantage of is Local Inventory Ads which give you the ability to direct search traffic to your bricks and mortar store. They do this by showcasing your product alongside your shop information to those searching nearby.
If a user then clicks on your ad, they will be directed to a Google hosted page for your shop – this is called the local storefront. This will gives users the ability to view your in-store inventory, get opening times, directions and more. This feature is designed to serve those that use their mobiles to search for a specific product, and then may choose to visit a local store to buy the product.
Paid search should not be ignored or thought of as an online only tool; as shown there are a number of opportunities within paid search that should be taken advantage of to drive footfall to your store.
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