Saks, Sephora keep it local with Google

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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An upscale department store chain and a specialty beauty retailer are promoting local stores on Google.

In time for the holiday season, Google is rolling out two new omnichannel features designed to connect online shoppers to local brick-and-mortar stores: Local campaigns and shopping campaigns. 

Local campaigns are specifically designed to help retailers drive visits to their physical store locations. In the coming weeks, retailers will be able to feature their brick-and-mortar locations on Google Maps as users get directions to a destination. In just a few taps, they can add a participating retailer’s store as a stop along their route.

With local campaigns, retailers can also promote brick-and-mortar locations as shoppers browse content in the Google Display network, with a curated selection of products a local store carries in a visual, catalog-like experience.

Saks Fifth Avenue piloted local campaigns during the 2018 holiday season. Using a randomized, controlled geo-experiment, Saks Fifth Avenue saw a statistically significant, incremental lift in store sales and an incremental offline return-on-ad-spend of 7.7x. The retailer is now expanding local campaigns to promote more of its store locations.

Sephora also conducted a randomized, controlled geo-experiment and found that local campaigns helped drive a statistically significant, incremental lift in store sales. For every dollar invested into local campaigns, Sephora generated a positive incremental return-on-ad-spend.

Google is also introducing shopping campaigns, which include the Google Shopping e-commerce experience and local inventory ads that map online offers to nearby physical stores. The new shopping campaigns also feature an expanded in-store pickup feature that allows retailers to display what products are available for immediate store pickup, with the option of paying online first. Retailers can also promote products that may not be available in store immediately, but can be quickly shipped to a nearby store within a few days. Google is currently running a beta, and accepting applications. 

In the coming weeks, Google will enable retailers to pick the shopping campaigns where they would like to include store visits as a conversion goal alongside online sales.