Google just released a new tool, called Google Shopping Insights, that’s designed to make inventory control much simpler and marketing strategies more effective for small business owners. Basically this app estimates current buying trends and popularity of products so that you can more strategically determine your inventory needs. The tool breaks down search data according to several categories (products, cities, and devices) and then illustrates it in heat maps so that SMB owners will know which products to order more or less of.
Interesting to note here is that, as the app reveals, most sales today don’t necessarily take place over the Internet. In fact, that’s not the case at all. According to VP of Product Management for Google Shopping Jonathan Alferness, “While 87 percent of shopping research happens online, 92 percent of goods are still sold in retail stores.” Alferness asserts that when retailers are able to better understand the intentions of shoppers doing their research online, they can make more informed decisions in terms of inventory, merchandising, and marketing for their brick and mortar stores, better meeting customer demand and minimizing financial losses on unsold product. Google Shopping Insights data can also be used to target Adwords and then further enhance online marketing and customer outreach efforts.
Given the immense impact miscalculated inventory and/or incorrectly targeted marketing initiatives can have on a small retail business, this new tool shows great promise. Google Shopping Insights is currently still in beta and is only available for the US market at this time. In its present state of development, it includes data covering major trends, specifically 5,000 products (this selection was based on the most popular product searches on Google Shopping between April 2014 and September 2015). So at this time, the tool isn’t as helpful for niche retailers selling less mainstream products. However, according to Alferness the tool is expected to be enhanced and expanded with fresh updates, new data, and more insights in the coming months.
Maina, Antony. “Google Shopping Insights Tells You What Customers Want—Now.” Small Biz Trends. 10/28/15.