Imagine a guitarist who’s getting ready to play his first local show. As he’s doing his afternoon practice before the show, one of his guitar strings snaps. He doesn’t have a spare. He needs to buy some new strings – fast

With his adrenaline kicking into gear, he takes out his cellphone with clammy hands and Googles: “Where can I buy guitar strings near me?”

The first thing he sees is a Local Inventory Ad. He clicks it, sees the product is available in a shop two blocks over, goes to the store and buys it.

At this moment (and in thousands more like it), Google’s Local Inventory Ads are giving brick and mortar retailers the opportunity to compete against big boxes and online retailers. 

Up until recently, LIA was only easily accessible to large big-box retailers like Walmart and Best Buy. Now, thanks to our partnership with Google, Pointy stores can take advantage of this powerful tool in just a few clicks. 

Local Inventory Ads are a huge upgrade compared to Google’s text-based ads and as early adopters of the tool, Pointy retailers have a unique opportunity to outsmart the competition and win back local customers.

Servicing a changing consumer

Last year we launched Pointy ProductAds, a tool that enables retailers to automatically create effective text-based ads on Google for each of their products.

This tool was the first step towards levelling the online ad playing field and helping brick and mortar stores leverage their proximity advantage over online and big-box retailers. Local Inventory Ads take it to the next level, by visually featuring your products and store information to nearby shoppers searching with Google.

The way people shop is changing, which is why Local Inventory Ads are a big opportunity for brick and mortar stores, who trade in convenience. 

Another big win is that mobile searches for ‘near me’ plus a variant of ‘to buy’ have increased by 500 percent in the last two years according to Google.

If a retailer can appear in these searches, they stand to make sales. 

However, for retailers to show up in these searches, they need accurate product information and the know-how to make effective ads. This task is intimidating for many retailers – especially if they’re not technical or if they have thousands of products. 

And let’s be honest, learning Google Ads is hard if you’re not a marketer. It comes with a whole other language and takes constant upskilling and in-depth knowledge to get right. What retailer has the time to sit in front of their computer for hours every month to figure it out? That’s the magic of Local Inventory Ads: with Pointy and Google, they’re really easy to set up. 

What are Local Inventory Ads?

Remember the guitarist up top?

When he searches for guitar strings, this is what he sees:

what are local inventory ads

These four results are Local Inventory Ads – which is Google’s fancy way of saying “ads for products that nearby customers searched for.”

The ads include price, a star rating based on customer reviews, a photo, and the name of the product.

They’re highly visual and draw the eye. 

If you click on the ad, you’re taken to the following page:

local storefront product ad

Through Pointy, when shoppers click on the Local Inventory Ad, they arrive on this page, which is called the Local Storefront. It’s unique to your store, showing your in-store inventory and key information like opening hours, your phone number, links to social, and directions to your store. 

More importantly, customers can see stock availability. 

Our worried guitarist can click on ‘view map’, get directions and go right into the store to buy the strings. 

His day has just been saved – and a local music shop has just made a sale. 

That’s a good result for everyone. 

How Local Inventory Ads work

Now that you know what these ads are, it’s time to look at how they work. 

Whenever anyone makes a search, Google shows them the result they think is the most relevant. This is done algorithmically – which means it’s figured out by many factors, such as location and what you’ve typed.

When someone makes a relevant product search like “guitar strings near me”, they see a Local Inventory Ad because Google uses GPS (Global Positioning System) to pinpoint their location and show them relevant geographical results. 

So: someone makes a relevant product search. You show up in the search engine results pages (SERP) either at the top or to the side:

local inventory ads example

You’re probably thinking this is great.

But there’s one kicker.

Usually, Local Inventory Ads are very difficult to set up – it involves a long process with multiple steps. However, with Pointy’s partnership with Google, it’s just gotten much, much simpler. 

Join the express lane with Pointy 

Every store that has activated Pointy will have an accurate online in-store inventory. Pointy connects between the barcode scanner and POS and whenever you scan a product, it goes onto your Pointy page – a website showing your products and store information.

Because Pointy already has your product information, creating these product ads is super simple: all a retailer needs to do is set their budget and a radius (for example, a couple of miles around their store) to target.

In the guitar string example, the retailer owns a music store and he’s using Local Inventory Ads. He’s spending $100 a month to promote his products to people within a 3 mile radius.

The guitarist lives a couple of blocks away, so when he broke the string, he made the search and saw the ad. He clicked it – and the rest is history. 

With Local Inventory Ads, shoppers can easily see images and descriptions of each in-store product. Local Inventory Ads also have extremely good keyword targeting compared to a typical text ad, meaning that your store is much more likely to show up even when the search terms are slightly obscure:

Pointy customer Michelle Lopez from Cook’s Arts & Crafts Shoppe is an active LIA user. She felt Pointy and LIA could help her keep up with big-box retailers and e-commerce giants. “Pointy got me. They got the small business idea of it. They understood our fears and the questions we had – and they were able to help,” she says. 

Over 600,000 people have seen Cook’s Arts & Crafts’ product ads. 

Learning Express, Reno expressed a similar sentiment. Owner Suzanne said that they’ve noticed a big increase in the number of calls starting with, “I saw on Google that you stock…” She attributes this to Local Inventory Ads. 

For Pointy users, activating Local Inventory Ads is easy. Click the ‘Link to Google’ tab on your Pointy dashboard. Then go to the ProductAds dashboard and press ‘go’. 

You are in control of which products you want to promote, where you want to advertise it and how much you want to spend. And because your product information is already on Pointy, you won’t need to upload hundreds (or even thousands) of product images or set descriptions or names.

With Local Inventory Ads, it’s finally easy for retailers to create digital ads that can compete with big-box stores and online giants.

Carla McGrath
Carla McGrath

Carla is a Performance Marketing Specialist at Pointy. She’s passionate about all things paid advertising and digital marketing. When not at work, you’ll find her scaling a climbing wall or beating people at Fortnite.

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