Google Finds Mobile Search Drives In-Store Buys


Google provided an update on mobile shopping in a blog post Monday (May 7), saying that mobile search is making it easier for people to find what they need when they need it.

According to Todd Pollak, retail industry director at Google, the Internet search giant has found that consumers are putting more time into the mobile research of products, spending on average 13 days researching. What’s more, once they are done researching and are ready to make a purchase, they want the item immediately. In fact, Google found that one in three say they expect their item in the same day.  When searching for urgent products via a smartphone, 74 percent of users agree they look for the most relevant information, regardless of which company is selling it. That means loyalty comes to the first retailer who offers all the information as well as the ability to quickly make the purchase.

“It’s clear that today’s consumers are asking for easy, frictionless experiences, but what people consider ‘frictionless’ varies,” wrote Pollak. “It can be online, where people seek out fast delivery. Mobile searches related to ‘same day shipping’ are emerging and have grown 120% since 2015. Or it can be when they’re in the kitchen, using their voice to shop — 44% of those who use their voice-activated speaker at least weekly say they use the device to order products they need, like groceries and household items, at least once a week.”

While online purchases are surging, so are searches for products that can be found in physical stores near the consumers. According to Google, mobile searches for “near me” have grown more than three times in the past two years, with nearly 80 percent of shoppers willing go into a store when they have an item they want immediately. “That means retailers have a huge opportunity to use physical stores to deliver on the heightened expectations of today’s impatient shoppers. To do this, it’s important to provide always-on assistance and ensure high-intent shoppers find what they need at the time they’re nearby and ready to shop,” said Pollak. He noted that retailer strategies in which the search shows the stock at nearby stores drives an 80 percent higher rate of store visits. If the product is available within one mile of the store, the click-through rate jumps by 28 percent and the store visit rate jumps by 57%. When shoppers are within five miles of a store, they tend to visit the store 1.7 times more than a store that is beyond five miles away.

“These insights drive home the fact that mobile allows people to be nimble, and if there is a demand in an area, it’s going to surface on digital. Shoppers can organize themselves as much (or as little) as they like because they know their smartphone is there for them. And they expect brands to respond by understanding their shopping needs and addressing them immediately. That means retailers should be there with frictionless experiences that make it easy to close the sale,” wrote Pollak.

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