At WPP Commerce 2022, Gaurav Juneja, head-digitisation, Google, and Meghna Bahadur, search specialist, Google, spoke about the future of omni-commerce.
The duo spoke on how Google localises ad content through its products giving marketers the chance to create full-funnel marketing opportunities.
Google Search: The first touch point of the omnichannel journey
Juneja started by saying, "Search on YouTube and Google is the intent-loaded customer platform for brands. The moment a brand has its presence established well on the search, they are already offering an effective omnichannel experience to its customer."
He shared that search gives consumers a path to purchase online or offline basis on their understanding of the customer.
Juneja added, "Through the product tag, the consumer gets a list of products and is directed to an offline store or an online platform. This format of ad inventory gives brands organic and inorganic touchpoints. All of this is on the first page of Google search and changes its results according to the user."
From the search page itself, the consumer gets organic and inorganic posts along with a brand’s video content, stated Juneja.
He continued, "The idea is to give the customer a host of choices on the search page itself."
Bahadur added that omnichannel could be a complex journey for brands but Google aims to simplify this process.
She shared, "Through Google Merchant Center, Google Business Profile and Google Messaging, we aspire to help brands set up a structure for an omnichannel experience. This also enables brands to connect their online and offline stores to drive media with automation."
Explaining how there are multiple touch points brands can cash in on while targeting their consumers, Bahadur said, "Today, a customer can be everywhere. Somebody searching for a brand online can go offline to shop for a brand and vice versa. The important thing is for brands to touch base with the consumer at every point of the way and ensure their presence is both online as well as offline."
Once a brand sets up its Google Business Profile, it acts as a digital storefront. Bahadur explained, "It is the first touch point a consumer is going to view before going ahead to the brand’s website or physical store. This provides the consumer with a seamless experience to interact with the brand after visiting its profile."
For example, if a consumer searches for ‘a laptop near me’. A search will pop up saying how a Dell store is 1.2 kilometres away and will also give the business profile of that store for the consumer to review.
"To take a step forward in this consumer journey, a brand can use ad tags on their business profile to optimise the consumer's search results and also garner data on the footfalls the store received", remarked Bahadur.
To drive more product sales, brands need to bring more offline products online. “If a consumer knows what products the store has, they will be even more intent driven to visit the brand’s store", commented Bahadur.
For this Bahadur suggested that brands can create an effective touch point by creating a Google Merchant Center profile.
She said, "Through this brands can set up their offline inventory online and drive consumers to their stores. These ad inventories help brands stay on top of the mind as well as control the kind of messaging that they want to show the cohort customer."
Planning creatives for omnichannel
“While planning creatives for the omnichannel journey, use local inventory ads that will adhere to online and offline customers. Measure the impact of both the offline and online campaigns and then plan the budgeting for spots accordingly”, said Juneja.
Roadblocks on an omnichannel journey
Juneja signed off saying, “The customer has an omnichannel journey. But are organisations structured around that process? If the sales and marketing teams are working on siloed teams online and offline, these omnichannel strategies will not work. The alignment for these strategies should start at a team planning level. Think omnichannel touch points first, then move on to marketing the brand. Finally, talk to the customer directly."