(Cross-posted on the Google Mobile Blog and Google Commerce Blog)

We’ve recently made a few new changes to Google Shopper for iPhone that makes it easy to find nearby deals when you’re on-the-go.

In the latest version of Google Shopper, in addition to the ‘Shop’ tab, you’ll now see two new tabs at the bottom of the app: Offers and My Offers. The Offers tab displays a list, or map view, of nearby offers which businesses have submitted through Google Places - from restaurant and movie theater deals to discounts on tennis lessons or a round of golf.

Let's say you come across an offer for free dessert at a nearby restaurant, but you won't have time to use it until the weekend. You can save the offer for future use, then later view and redeem it from the My Offers tab.

Additionally, if Google Offers are available in your city, you’ll be able to view and redeem your purchased offers on the My Offers tab. Google Offers are currently available in Portland, Oregon, the San Francisco Bay Area and New York, with other cities to follow.

Google Shopper 1.5 is currently available for iPhone users in the US and UK with iOS 4.0 and higher. If you’re a current Google Shopper user, you’ll automatically receive an update. Download Google Shopper 1.5 by visiting the App Store. To download Google Shopper for Android, visit Android Market.

Posted by Richard Hung, Product Manager, Google Shopper Team

I recently was in the market for the infamous ‘little black dress.’ My first stop was Google - just like millions of other shoppers. After clicking through to one of my favorite dress retailers and browsing the options, I decided to stop by their store on the way home from work. I needed the dress for an event that weekend and also wasn’t sure on size, so ordering online really wasn’t an option.

There are lots of reasons shoppers research purchases online and then buy at a brick and mortar. What’s important for retailers to recognize, however, is that having an online presence is becoming more and more important to overall sales.

According to an Ipsos study, 93% of sales occur offline. However, 80% of consumers research a product online before purchasing in-store. This illustrates the value consumers place on the Internet as a trusted research resource for their purchases.

As consumers increasingly shop across multiple channels, retailers must shift their thinking around ROI to properly account for how and where consumers shop.

Google’s online to store experiments can help retailers better understand the impact their online marketing dollars are having on in-store sales. We use a test vs. control methodology to measure this impact.

The basics include looking at similar DMAs and increasing online advertising in the test markets, while maintaining or eliminating online advertising in the control markets.

In preliminary studies, advertisers are getting more insight into their in-store ROAS, as well as in-store sales uplift. Having this information can help you better align your attribution models - which can help you make more informed decisions when determining where marketing dollars should be spent to drive optimal sales.

If you have brick and mortar locations and are interested in learning more about the impact your AdWords advertising is having on in-store sales, please reach out to your Google account team regarding online-to-store testing.

Posted by Rachel Perrone, The Google Retail Team

Contextual. Audience. Remarketing. Demographic. Marketers have many options when it comes to targeting their display campaigns. The emergence of these powerful technologies has transformed display into a powerful direct response medium, delivering measurable performance at scale for marketers. But with the plethora of options to choose from, where do advertisers and agencies begin?

Please join Google for an upcoming webinar to learn more about how to approach targeting strategy for your campaigns on the Google Display Network. Specifically we’ll cover:
  • The “targeting toolbox” for direct response campaigns
  • Strategies for prioritizing and applying the available targeting options to maximize campaign performance and efficiency
  • Tools, tips and best practices for maximizing ROI for your campaigns
Register here for the webinar to be held on August 4, 2011 at 11:00am PST / 1:00pm CST / 2:00pm EST.

Product placement on television is not a new concept, but the ever-increasing popularity of reality TV has changed the landscape of television programming. As of March 2011, Nielsen reported that 8 out of the 10 top shows with product placements were reality television programs. Product placement on reality TV has the ability to drive sales, but seconds of exposure don’t do much in providing value and differentiation in today’s product saturated media world. Whether these product placements were predetermined, or happen organically within the context of the show, search can play a critical role in these moments where consumers are looking to discover and engage with your brand.

There is undoubtedly a clear connection between television hot topics and increased product searches conducted. An example of this relationship can be seen by the number of searches that have been done in the past two months related to the outfits that “Bachelorette” Ashley Heber has been donning during her appearances on the long-running reality-hit “The Bachelorette”.

So what should retailers do to be prepared for this type of phenomenon?

Set up Google News alerts for your brand
If not a strategic product placement, it is difficult to predict when your brand will be featured on a reality T.V. show, but these types of items are often being blogged about and news alerts will give you a heads up about what is top of mind for your consumers.

Work with reality show to get trademark approval
If trademark approval is granted, language such as “…as seen on the Bachelor” could be used in an ad, which could potentially improve click-through rates. Similarly, another strategy could be to add keywords to your account related to a show that your product was featured on.

Consider using Product Listing Ads
This AdWords feature allows you to quickly and precisely capture missing, relevant queries without the need of updating your keywords. Product Listing Ads use your existing Merchant Center product feed, creating ads for the products you want to promote in a dynamic way.

These three items should help prepare retailers for the possible influx of searches on their brand when it is featured on a reality T.V. show.

All in all, this phenomenon reiterates the fact that searches do not happen in silos and that the online and offline world are inherently connected. Significant value can be gained for those businesses that understand these connections and are actively looking for ways to capitalize on the multi-channel aspects of search.

Posted by Liz Ott, The Google Retail Team

[cross-posted on the Google Mobile Ads Blog

It’s time for our sixth post in our Mobile Insights series featuring viewpoints from our Google mobile ads team. This week, our guest contributor is Grace Dolan, Account Executive. Grace shares her insights on how mobile advertising can help boost brand awareness and sales during the Back to School season.

During the summer months, more users turn to mobile devices to shop. Summer is also when the Back to School shopping season begins. This is a perfect opportunity for marketers, especially in retail, consumer electronics, and cable/telecommunications, to get in front of their target customers who are hungry for information to make purchases. Last year we saw a lift of 500% in mobile searches for retail and consumer electronics categories over the summer months. (1)

I experienced the growth in mobile searching personally over this past 4th of July weekend. My brother is in college, he was researching options for a new laptop for school. During a family barbecue, he and my father were on his smartphone, comparing features, prices, and getting opinions from others (photo featured below). My brother was able to interact with everyone during the get together instead of being inside on his computer.

This isn’t just happening at my parents’ house. The Back to School demographic is on mobile devices, often several hours a day, for more than just a phone call or text message. According to Sergio Alvarez, Chief Operating Officer of the interactive marketing agency Ai Media Group, "The Back to School crowd is leading the way with mobile. As mobile phones increase in versatility and power, they have become more like pocket computers than phones. Colleges and institutions are taking advantage of this technology. We consider mobile to be an integral part of our marketing strategy, and we will continue to make it part of all our campaign portfolios.”

As a marketer, how can you maximize Back to School success with the peaked traffic? Here are a few tips:
  • Prepare for the massive traffic spikes with appropriate budgets in place.
  • Be on top 24/7. Bid to be in “above the fold” positions on Back to School categories. This is essential on mobile.
  • Give them incentive. Include Mobile Offer ads to help drive redemption in-store, online or on the phone.
  • Be local. Direct customers to your store by adding your location to your ads.
Back to School is a great opportunity to be in front of your target audience, especially if you maximize the potential of mobile marketing. Don’t miss out; visit the mobile ads site today to find out more.

Posted by: Grace Dolan, Account Executive, Google Mobile Ads

(1) Google Internal Data (2009-2011)

The trends for ‘back-to-school’ queries over the past four years illuminate more than when queries start and peak. These searches have been analyzed and grouped within categories that can help shape retailers’ display strategy for this year’s back to school season on the Google Display Network. The following categories and sub-categories, in order to frequency, were the most commonly searched themes for back-to-school queries:
  • Society: Education, Legal, Social Science
  • Entertainment: Music and Movies
  • Shopping: Apparel, Mass Merchants and Department Stores, Flowers Gifts and Greetings
  • Local: Regional Content, Jobs
As the graph below indicates, back to school searches begin to quickly rise at the beginning of July, peak in mid-August, and tail off at the end of September. So start gearing up for back-to-school season, and be sure to target these relevant categories on the Display Network!

Posted by Jieun Baek, The Google Retail Team

Building your brand and and engaging with retail consumers has never been more important than it is today. Fueled by technological advancements and more consumer touchpoints than ever before, it is clear that the future is now.

Tune in today to the livestream of Google’s invite-only retail summit, Think Retail: The Future is Now. We will explore the ever-evolving marketplace, how to most effectively leverage your digital assets, and how to best connect with today’s consumers.
  • Live streaming begins on July 12, 2011 at 9:00am PST
  • View the event from your desktop here
  • Following us? Use #thinkevents for this event
Posted by The Google Retail Team

As we put away the grill, pack up the leftover hot dogs, and watch the last firework fizzle out on the driveway, it can only mean one thing – six months left till Christmas.

Christmas in July, an event that now is commonplace in the American lexicon, started as a line in an 1892 Opera when children sang Christmas carols during the summer months. Since then, it has become a retail holiday which marks the halfway point between each holiday season. Consisting of sales and various promotions, Christmas in July online interest has risen year over year as seen by the graph below from Insights for Search.

Christmas in July has a few benefits for both retailers and customers. Retailers can get a sense of how consumers will spend during the upcoming Holiday season, with some sources citing strong correlation between July and December sales. It also presents an opportunity for retailers to liquidate inventory to make room for holiday stock. Consumers will benefit from free shipping and deep discounts.

From an AdWords perspective, there are a few key best practices for holidays like Christmas in July.
  • Be aware of what your competition is doing. Note changes in ad text used by other businesses leading up to the end of the month. Promotions in the ad text can help CTR
  • Adjust sitelinks to highlight July sales and drive traffic to special promotional landing pages
  • Add in new keywords for specific Christmas in July queries
  • Opt into all devices to ensure you’ll show to users no matter where they are
  • Contextually targeted campaigns can show ads when users are reading about the holiday, and remarketing can catch users who have been to your site for past sales or offers
Whether you’re shopping or selling, Christmas in July represents an interesting phenomenon in the world of retail created holiday, and with interest rising year over year it is sure to be around for quite a while. Only 166 days left till Christmas!

Posted by David Clavens, The Google Retail Team

Building your brand and and engaging with retail consumers has never been more important than it is today. Fueled by technological advancements and more consumer touchpoints than ever before, it clear that the future is now.

Tune in on July 12th to the livestream of Google’s invite-only retail summit, Think Retail: The Future is Now. We will explore the ever-evolving marketplace, how to most effectively leverage your digital assets, and how to best connect with today’s consumers.
  • Live streaming begins on July 12, 2011 at 12:00pm EST
  • Register here
  • Following us? Use #thinkevents for this event

Posted by the Google Retail Team

When it comes to food retailing and online media, the Whole Foods Parking Lot is not the only place where ‘it’s getting real’; in fact, the connection between grocery stores and the digital world extends far beyond this catchy YouTube hit.

The first and most obvious connection is in online grocery shopping, and recent efforts from Amazon, Walmart, and Safeway indicate that we’ll continue to see aggressive expansion in this space. However, even in the absence of an e-commerce platform, grocery retailers have several options for creatively delivering value to consumers online. Here are three online consumer trends and opportunities for all grocery retailers to consider:
  • Consumers are searching for food all the time, for every occasion. In fact, searches in the food & drink category are growing rapidly year over year. Grocery retailers can make sure they are found by consumers as result of these searches by creating relevant ads to drive grocery sales both online and in-store.

    Coupled with this overall growth trend is the fact that food remains central to many social events, holidays, and traditions. Prior to creating grocery lists, consumers are online generating ideas and searching for recipes, providing yet another highly relevant interaction point for grocery retailers. In 2010, for example, consumers were increasingly interested in Apple Crisp recipes in September, cooking turkey in November, and Prime Rib and Christmas cookies in December. In addition to search ads, retailers can take advantage of the vast Google Display Network to reach consumers while they are looking at food- and recipe-related sites in preparation for a store visit.
  • It’s no longer only about clipping coupons from the Sunday circular; grocery consumers search for deals and discounts online, too. With seemingly constant rising gas and commodity prices, consumers are actively looking online to find the best grocery deals. Search volume for the term [grocery coupons] specifically has seen a huge uptick in recent months. Retailers can take advantage of increased demand of deal-conscious consumers by using search ads with Sitelinks to guide consumers directly to promotion, coupon, and circular experiences within their sites.
  • Consumers are always on the move… luckily, they bring their mobile phones along with them for support. Anyone with a smartphone can relate to using mobile search to find a nearby store or service while on the go. Grocery retailers can enable mobile campaigns to ensure that consumers can find them quickly and easily in those last minute searches a fruit tray or a bag of ice to bring to the party. Retailers can also enhance the mobile experience with location extensions and directions to facilitate a seamless transition from a mobile search to the store aisle.
As time goes on, we can only anticipate there will be many more ways in which consumers interactions with grocery retailers online will continue to ‘get real’. However, if there is one piece of this multi-channel consumer experience the Whole Foods Parking Lot video that has me wondering, it’s this: What really would happen if someone parked in violation of the reserved Hybrid parking space?

Posted by Kristin Patterson, The Google Retail Team