Google has launched a new ad product that marries search and mapping data to help brick-and-mortar retailers identify shopping trends. It works by analysing consumers’ habits across devices, cities, and times of year.
The Shopping Insights tool lets anyone search for products by keyword, then filter by location (city) or device. You can even enter multiple search terms for comparison, such as “Microsoft Xbox One” and “Sony PS4.”
The tool essentially “estimates” popularity and trends across products by aggregating online searches made by consumers through Google. Retailers can look at what’s hot (and what’s not) by region, and make decisions on how to sell their products based on demand.
Given that ecommerce garners so much attention in the media and elsewhere, it would be easy to assume that most sales now take place online. But that ain’t necessarily so.
“While 87 percent of shopping research happens online, 92 percent of goods are still sold in retail stores,” explained Jonathan Alferness, VP product management for Google Shopping, in a blog post. “By better understanding user’s shopping intent online, retailers can make more informed local merchandising and marketing decisions for their stores.”
Additionally, the data provided through the Shopping Insights tool can be used to target AdWords — if you know that a specific product is infinitely “hotter” in New York than in San Francisco, based on what consumers are Googling — why waste resources targeting San Fran?
Shopping Insights is still officially a beta product for now, and only covers the U.S. market — specifically, around 5,000 of the most popular product searches made through Google Shopping between April 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015.