Google also lets consumers make purchases for in-store pickup and check in-store inventory.

Consumers conducted 30% more shopping searches on Google in the past year than they did a year earlier, according to the search giant, which is seeking to find ways to capitalize on these changing behaviors.

Google’s latest e-commerce push came Monday when it officially added product listing ads to its image search, a development initially reported by Merkle in its report “Digital Marketing Report Q4 2015.”

Consumers using a mobile device will see the ads displayed in a carousel format above the organic image results.

“People who search and shop on their smartphones at least once a week say that product images are the shopping feature they turn to most,” Jonathan Alferness, Google Shopping’s vice president, product management, writes in a blog post. “And it turns out, the top questions Google Images users ask us are ‘What’s the price of this?’ and ‘Where can I buy it?’ That’s why we are introducing Shopping ads on image search.”

Google also introduced a way for retailers with stores to present consumers with the option to buy an item online and pick it up in a -store. The search giant added the option to its local inventory ads, the ad format that lets a retailer make inventory in local stores accessible to online shoppers. Merchants can leverage the new capability by adding a store pickup link to the Google-hosted local product page. That’s the page that appears after a user clicks on a retailer’s Google local inventory ad.
Giving consumers the option to buy an item online and pick it up in a store is important as the number of searches that include  local intent, —that is, searches that include a ZIP code or words like “near me,” have roughly doubled in the past year, Alferness writes. Moreover, a large number of retail chains offer the option to buy an item online and pick it up in a store, including 22 of the 30 chains evaluated in Internet Retailer’s just-released report,Omnichannel Winners of the Top 500.


In testing, Kohl’s Corp., No. 19 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, found the buy online, pickup in-store option helped produce up to a 50% increase in clicks from its Google local storefront to the Kohl’s site with the feature.

For retailers that use local inventory ads, Google makes their inventory searchable on in the local Knowledge Panel, the section that appears within search results that includes store hours and directions.

Finally, Google also touted the “strong results” of Purchases on Google, the feature that lets consumers on smartphones click on a Buy button to buy products directly through product listing ads via retailer-branded product pages that Google hosts. For example, Deckers Brands (No. 144) reports a nearly 50% increase in the conversion rate on its mobile product listing ads with Purchases on Google, as well as a 25% decrease in its cost per conversion.

“As mobile’s role in shopping continues to grow, being there and being useful to people in their ‘I need some ideas,’ ‘which one’s best?’ and ‘I want to buy it’ micro-moments will drive more online and store sales,” Alferness writes.