After a year in testing, Bing Local Inventory ads (LIAs) emerged from beta in early June as a new opportunity for retailers with brick-and-mortar stores to connect their online and physical shopping experiences. These ads function similarly to the pre-existing Google solution, allowing for a more personalized shopping experience for nearby users by showing in-store product availability directly within the ad display.
How Local Inventory Ads Work
When a user conducts a search that triggers Shopping ads within the search results, search engines then leverage the user’s location to show products relevant to their search that are available for purchase nearby. When the LIA is clicked, they’ll be taken to a storefront hosted by the search engine and provided the option to buy directly online or given information to get it in-store near them.
Who Can Use Local Inventory Ads?
LIAs are not available to Retailers without physical storefronts, but e-tail businesses can still leverage Shopping ads to promote their digital shopping experience. Retailers with both digital and brick-and-mortar shopping experiences are able to leverage Local Inventory Ads within Shopping ads campaigns managed through their Bing and Google Merchant Center accounts.
Why Use Local Inventory Ads?
LIAs help to bring your local store experience to digital customers. Notably, studies have shown significant growth of Shopping Ad clicks, with shopping accounting for 65% of all Google Paid search clicks in Q1 2019. Within that segment, Local Inventory Ad share has risen consistently over the past two years, generating 13% of shopping clicks in Q1 2019.
In addition to rising demand, LIAs help solve business constraints by empowering shoppers with information that can improve their experience. Previously this encounter may have required a phone call (and an employee available to answer it), or resulted in a disappointed shopper arriving at a store in search of a product not in stock.
How to Set Up Local Inventory Ads
In both Google and Bing platforms, one of the biggest components necessary to take advantage of LIAs is feed generation and management. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that the initial registration process to verify the accuracy of the feed can require significant coordination of resources and store management. While the set-up process may be viewed as initially burdensome, the final result offers a competitive advantage in improving in-market customer shopping experiences.
The following steps provide a general overview of the actions necessary to activate LIAs for your business through both Bing and Google Merchant Centers:
- Set Up & Submit/Link your Google My Business Locations account complete with store profiles and information
- Set Up a Local Product Feed
- Set Up a Local Product Inventory Feed
- Register & Upload your Feeds for Verification. Google offers two methods
- Enable Lias within your account
- Google Verification
- Google will send teams of 1-3 people to several stores, working unassisted but requiring coordination with the store manager on any items found out of stocK
- Google will randomly select several stores to undergo self-verification.
- Once self-verification is selected, stores are given a two week window to make necessary arrangements, requiring staff to verify availability of 100 products, submit photos, and complete a survey on the same day
- Google Verification
- Maintain & Update Feeds Regularly to maintain accuracy
- It is recommended to re-upload the Local Product Feed at least once per week
- It is recommended to re-upload the Local Product Inventory Feed at least once per day