Over the years, the Shopping Blog has sought to provide you with the latest retail trends and insights. We want to make it easier for everyone to find most recent data, so we’ve consolidated our efforts on Think with Google.

So starting today, you can get all the retail and shopping insights on the Think with Google website. You can also find product specific updates on the Google Commerce Blog. After today, we won’t be posting any news on this blog, so sign up to get regular updates from Think with Google about the retail industry and consumer trends.

Posted by Keri Overman, The Google Retail Team


From watching Spongebob clips with the little ones to learning how to survive their challenging teen years, the many stages of motherhood can feel like they whizz by in the blink of an eye. So in celebration of Mother’s Day this year, we decided to explore and pay tribute to some of those special moments in a mother’s journey from new mom to grandmom - and how YouTube hopes to support her along the way.

In addition, to learn more about how modern moms use our platform to learn, share and discover, we partnered with TNS to survey 1,500 women, aged 18-54, all of whom have children under the age of 18 and watch videos online.

The results show that whether it’s to research the next family vacation, get in a quick workout before the kids wake up, or learn how to set up the new printer for her small business, today’s mom is using online video to learn and grow.

But it’s not just advice and how-tos that moms seek. They also turn to YouTube to wind down. In our survey, 74% of moms said they use YouTube for “me time,” watching for entertainment and relaxation purposes. But that “me time” can quickly turn to “we time.” Of the moms surveyed, 87% said they watch videos not just alone - but with their children alongside, too.

For countless reasons and throughout her journey, moms turn to YouTube in their moments of need: when they need a video to watch with the kids, when they need an answer to a question, or when they just need a laugh. And we’re so glad we can be there for them.

Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at YouTube.


Posted by Netta Gross, Consumer Insights, YouTube B2B Marketing

When it comes to attracting customers, small businesses know that showcasing their products online can help them get in front of more people -- even when their physical store doors are closed. In fact, one-third of small business owners said new or existing clients engaged with them through their e-commerce websites at least once daily.1

But getting started with a website is just the beginning. Google Shopping helps small businesses like you tap into the power of customer intent to reach the right people with relevant products ads, when it matters the most. Here’s how two local businesses, Paper Culture and PUBLIC Bikes, used Google Shopping to gain a competitive edge and spark shoppers’ interest across the country by leveraging their strengths: unique designs and inspired products.

Paper Culture uses Shopping ads to connect with design lovers online
Unique, modern design is a top priority for Paper Culture, an environmentally-conscious stationery company that sells 100% post-consumer recycled cards, coasters, and other personalized products online. To complement their AdWords text ads, Paper Culture turned to Google Shopping to put their product designs front and center, and reach new customers with rich, visual ads that jump off the search page.

“One of the toughest challenges for us as a small business is that we don’t have the brand of our larger competitors,” says Chris Wu, CEO and co-founder of Paper Culture. “Google Shopping helps us tell our story through showing searchers our unique product designs, right on Google search.”

By coupling customer intent with Google Shopping’s image-focused approach, Paper Culture was able to highlight their designs in a cost-effective way -- ensuring that each shopper that clicked on a Google Shopping ad was an already-interested buyer. Through Shopping campaigns, Paper Culture decreased their cost-per-lead (CPL) by 50%, and saw 3x ROI overall when compared to their other online channels.
PUBLIC Bikes reaches more searching cyclists with Google Shopping
Multi-channel retailer PUBLIC Bikes is in the business of selling colorful, trendy city bikes with a mission to help people fall in love with urban biking. But as a small business that designs, manufactures, and sells their own merchandise, the team often found themselves short on time and resources.

“With a small team, it’s challenging to do everything we want to do and get our brand and products out there,” says Dan Nguyen-Tan, founding executive of PUBLIC Bikes. “We need a way to scale our marketing efforts and get in front of potential customers where they can discover and engage us. That’s why Google Shopping is so important: it helps us reach customers looking for our products across the country.”

PUBLIC Bikes used Google Shopping to find new customers beyond their brick-and-mortar stores. Bidding by product allowed them to more easily prioritize those products that were new or on sale, turning once low-converting search terms into profit. For every $1 invested in Shopping campaigns, PUBLIC Bikes was able to see 2x the ROI as compared to their other online channels.
A new hub for retailers, large and small
Whether you’re an ecommerce business or a multi-channel business, the new Google for Retail offers a one-stop hub to learn more about Google’s solutions for retailers of all sizes.

If you’re a small business like Paper Culture or PUBLIC Bikes, we’re introducing a new Shopping Campaigns page as a go-to resource to help you get up and running on Google Shopping and make the world your storefront. Here, you’ll find product overviews, success stories, tutorial videos, and help resources to show how Google’s various retail tools work together to let you find your shoppers, wherever they are.

Posted by Kim Doan, Product Marketing Manager, Google Shopping

1eMarketer, Do Small Business Websites Drive Client Engagement?, Feb 2015

When it comes to brick and mortar stores, misinformation runs rampant.

For instance, search results only send consumers to e-commerce sites, retailers lose the shopper who checks a phone in store, and buyers only visit stores to transact or showroom. Those are three common myths debunked in Digital’s Impact on In-Store Shopping1, new research conducted by Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands for Google, based upon purchasing behaviors of more than 6,000 smartphone shoppers.

Although 95% of all retail transactions still occur in-store2, smartphones have quickly become consumer’s favorite and most trusted “shopping assistant.” These handy devices reduce buyers’ remorse, raise consumer expectations for getting more accurate and faster information from store associates, and present new challenges for hungry retailers.

For instance:

  • 68% of shoppers surveyed said they were happier with store purchases when they did research online before buying, according to those surveyed 
  • 71% expect clerks to know or find product information more quickly now, due to smartphones 
  • 46% of smartphone shoppers browse the retailer’s own site or app in-store 

But when paired with a consistent shopping experience — specifically mobile optimized, locally relevant, and personalized search results — these same “shopping assistants” can become as powerful to sellers as they are to buyers, the research found.

In fact, they’ve helped double the value of in store visit,3 increase customer satisfaction (69% of consumers are more satisfied with purchases when they get to touch or feel a product in-store), and they’ve given retailers more opportunities to build brand loyalty (51% said they used digital devices to look for additional information after buying).

For instance, Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores saw a 16% higher clickthrough rate and 122% increase in visits to its stores after adopting Local Inventory Ads, which lets retailers display nearby store inventory to online shoppers.4 “Local inventory ads fit perfectly into our strategy of using digital tools to drive store traffic,” says David Buckley, chief marketing officer at Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores. “If people are searching for a product on their phones, there is nothing more targeted than serving that item with a picture, description, and price while letting the customers know exactly how far they are located from the product.” 

The technology also helps Sears extend the reach of its advertising budget, driving $8 of in store sales for each dollar invested online.5 “When we compared our most recent performance of local inventory ads to offline media typically used to drive store sales, such as a recent broadcast television campaign,” Buckley explains, “local inventory ads returned in-store sales at more than 5X the rate of tv advertising for each dollar spent.6” 

Similarly, Staples saw their store visit and ad click thru rates increase by 33% and 29% respectively, after indicating nearby stock in their search listings.

“Local Inventory Ads are another way Staples helps customers shop whenever and however they want through our omnichannel,” said Ellen Comley, vice president, integrated media, Staples, Inc. “We know that more and more customers are doing research online before buying, and local inventory ads make it easier for us to reach small businesses and ensure we’re providing the most relevant offers.” 

Of course, those are just a few examples. In addition to identifying other ways smartphones are changing modern shopping, Digital’s Impact on In-Store Shopping outlines several steps retailers can take to optimize their online presence for smartphones:

5 things brick and mortar stores should do now 

  1. Use Local Inventory Ads to promote nearby stock to interested buyers, including availability of complementary and recommended products 
  2. Be sure to list store locations, hours, and phone numbers in online search ads 
  3. Optimize online presence for mobile viewing and buying, including search results, website, app, and mobile ads to engage consumers while in store 
  4. Localize and integrate custom offers and product recommendations to smartphone shoppers that disclose their location 
  5. Take an omni-channel approach to marketing and measurement by combining your online and physical efforts into one (see also: Macy’s Inc
There’s no denying that smartphone shoppers are looking at competing offers while in store, the research concludes. But a greater percentage of shoppers look to search engine results and a retailer’s own sites and apps first. To take advantage, retailers must acknowledge, react to, and consolidate their multi-channel approach into a “mobile first” omni-channel one.

Learn more about how top retailers are using digital to connect people with their stores here.

Posted by Emily Eberhard Pereira, Head of Shopping Solutions Marketing 


1Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Sterling Brands, Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping, October 2014 
2 eMarketer: Total US Retail Sales Top $4.5 Trillion in 2013, Outpace GDP Growth, April 2014 
3 Shoppertrak 2014 foot traffic and Mastercard SpendPulse transaction Data 2010 thru 2014 
4 AdWords Store Visits Data. 2015 
5 Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Data. 2015 
6 Sear’s Hometown and Outlet Stores Data. 2015

There’s no doubt that technology continues to transform the pace of business. In the past, it wasn’t possible to track online conversions back to ads in real-time. You couldn’t always be sure you were advertising only in-stock items or immediately traffic out seasonal assortment changes.

But now advanced digital marketers are able to take advantage of real-time conversion and product data in their advertising campaigns to great effect.

Forrester recently completed a global study of 240 retailers’ search campaigns. What they found was… opportunity. Most retailers still don’t take advantage of existing real-time capabilities in digital marketing, and leave a significant opportunity for savvy marketers who do.

Come hear Forrester and Google talk about: 
  1. Results from Forrester’s retail search study 
  2. Insights about the retail search market, and where you can take advantage 
  3. How to become more “real-time” in your own digital advertising 

Shar VanBoskirk, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
Henry Tappen, Retail Product Manager, DoubleClick Search

Wednesday, February 18th at 11AM PST/2PM EST

Register now on the event site

We look forward to seeing you there.