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Google Commerce



The official blog for the latest news from Google Commerce



Updated: 2016-09-28T14:40:37.458-07:00

 



Testing, Testing - One, Two, Hands Free

2016-03-07T09:09:19.505-08:00

Calling all South Bay residents: we are piloting a new payment app and would love your feedback!

First, some background. Since we launched Android Pay, we've averaged 1.5 million new registrations each month in the US alone and there are now over 2 million locations that accept tap and pay. But we’re not stopping there—we're busy working to bring the convenience of Android Pay to more countries and a growing list of stores and apps.

At the same time, we also wanted to explore what the future of mobile payments could look like. Imagine if you could rush through a drive-thru without reaching for your wallet, or pick up a hot dog at the ballpark without fumbling to pass coins or your credit card to the cashier. This prompted us to build a pilot app called Hands Free that we’re now in the early stages of testing. It lets you pay in stores quickly, easily, and completely hands-free.
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While the pilot is still in early stages, we’ve come to a point where we're ready to invite people in the South Bay to test Hands Free with us. Hands Free is currently available on Android and iOS devices and is rolling out to a small number of McDonald’s, Papa John’s, and local eateries in the area.

Once you’ve installed and set up the app, Hands Free uses Bluetooth low energy, Wi-Fi, and location services on your phone to detect whether you’re near a participating store. When you’re ready to pay, you can simply tell the cashier, “I’ll pay with Google.” The cashier will ask for your initials and use the picture you added to your Hands Free profile to confirm your identity.

At select stores, we’re also in the early stages of experimenting with visual identification so that you can breeze through checkout even faster. This process uses an in-store camera to automatically confirm your identity based on your Hands Free profile picture. All images captured by the Hands Free camera are deleted immediately.

To learn more about the Hands Free pilot, please visit the Hands Free website.

We’ll continue to improve the technology behind Hands Free, and we’re excited to hear your feedback. As an added thank you for testing Hands Free, we’re offering up to $5 off your first Hands Free purchase at participating stores.

Posted by Pali Bhat, Senior Director, Product Management
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Fresh grocery delivery to your doorstep

2016-02-17T08:00:08.557-08:00

Everyone wants milk delivered with their cookies -- that’s why we're excited to start adding fresh groceries to Google Express. Since we launched Express, you’ve ordered enough water to fill 10.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools and enough toilet paper to circle the earth 15 times. But we’ve also heard your feedback that you’d love for Express to help you check off your entire grocery list, including fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood, dairy, and frozen foods. And so today we're launching a pilot in select Los Angeles and San Francisco neighborhoods, so that you can get same-day delivery of your fresh groceries. We’ll start in areas of LA including Pacific Palisades, Westwood, Venice, and Marina del Rey, and in San Francisco neighborhoods such as the Financial District, the Mission, and Potrero Hill, along with many others. You can check the maps below to see if you’re eligible. Below: pilot coverage areas in Los Angeles and San FranciscoWhether you need to restock your pantry, get some ingredients for tonight’s dinner, or just need some help carrying the heavier stuff -- all you have to do is place your order, and we'll take care of the rest. Fresh grocery deliveries start at $2.99 for members and $4.99 for everyone else, and you can choose when you want them delivered in two-hour windows, available every day. While you’re going about your day, your groceries are kept fresh and cold from the grocery store all the way to your doorstep. If you’re new to Google Express, sign up now to get a free 3-month trial membership.* Enjoy $15 off your first purchase by entering code TRYGROCERY at checkout.**We’re always working to make Google Express better, and we hope that fresh groceries make the service even more useful for you.               Posted by Prabhu Balasubramanian, Product Manager, Google Express *3-month trial offer expires Jan. 31, 2017. After free trial, membership auto-renews. Cancel at any time. **Applies only to 1st purchase (even if it’s less than the coupon value). Valid until 3/31/16 while your account’s active. Alcohol, gift cards, membership costs and shipping & service fees excluded. For complete terms and conditions, see g.co/express/trial.[...]



Send money to anyone in your contact list with Google Wallet

2015-12-10T12:30:02.738-08:00

No email? No problem! Now you can send money to anyone in your contact list using just a phone number.



When you send money to a phone number, the recipient will get a text message with a secure link. They can simply enter their debit card to claim the money and it will be available in their bank account within minutes.



To start using this feature, look for a new version of the Google Wallet app on Google Play or in the App Store in the next few days.


Keep the feedback coming
We’re thrilled with the great feedback we’ve received on the new Google Wallet app, and we’re working hard to make the experience even better.



In recent weeks, we’ve released a number of updates, including:
  • Improved contact suggestions, so you see the people you send money to most often first 
  • A security feature that lets you lock the Google Wallet app with the tap of a button 
  • The ability to link a second bank account 



We’d love to hear more about what features you want to see in Google Wallet. Share your feedback with us in the app or on our Twitter or Google+ accounts.



The Google Wallet Team
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Google Express: you be Santa; we’ll handle the rest

2015-12-01T06:00:03.687-08:00

Every year, there’s a joyous feeling in the air as excitement builds to that special holiday moment with friends and family. Leading up to the holiday break, though, we know you have loads to do, like shop for gifts, pick up holiday decor, and (of course) bake cookies for Santa. Last year, folks from Boston, Chicago, DC, Manhattan, West LA and the Bay Area trusted Google Express to get their holiday must-haves delivered — whether it was the gingerbread cookies in the nick of time for the holiday party, festive lights for the home, toys for the kiddos, or an epic ugly sweater for the company contest. This year, we’re thrilled to reach more than 95 million people (nearly 1/3 of the US — hurrah!) with massive new coverage across most of the Midwest and all of California. Give me s’more, you say? To help with your to-dos, we’re pleased to work with more of your favorite stores so you can relax and do all your holiday shopping in one place — the palm of your hand.              Last year, we noticed that average searches for ‘tableware’ grew three times in December compared to the rest of the year, while searches for ‘baking’ related items peaked a week before Christmas. So, to help with your holiday meal prep, we’re delighted to bring you Bed Bath & Beyond and Sur La Table, where you can find bakeware and festive dinnerware perfect for your holiday gatherings.In the Bay Area, we saw four times the number of searches for ‘Christmas tree’ right after Thanksgiving, while searches for ‘holiday decor’ tripled the week after. This year, we’re thrilled to work with Orchard Supply Hardware and Balsam Hill to have beautiful trees, home decor and so much more, delivered right to your door. If you haven’t already, sign up for Google Express and get a free 3-month membership trial* to see how we can make your holidays all the merrier. And for a limited time, enjoy $15 off your first purchase by entering code REINDEER15 at checkout.**Happy shopping and happy holidays!The Google Express Team*3-month trial offer expires Jan. 31, 2017. After free trial, membership auto-renews. Cancel at any time.**Applies only to 1st purchase (even if it’s less than the coupon value). Valid until Dec. 31, 2015 while your account’s active. Alcohol, gift cards, membership costs and shipping & service fees excluded. For complete terms and conditions, see g.co/express/trial. [...]



Welcome to a new Google Wallet

2016-03-30T06:06:40.150-07:00

Today, we’re announcing a new Google Wallet app -- now focused exclusively on sending and receiving money. You can use Google Wallet with your Android or iOS device to send money to anyone in the US with an email address, even if they are not a Wallet user. And now, when you receive money through Google Wallet, you can quickly cash out to a debit card or linked bank account.

It's easy, fast, and free to send money directly from your bank account, debit card or Wallet Balance. When you receive money through Google Wallet, you can spend it using your Google Wallet Card wherever Debit MasterCard® is accepted in the US, use your Wallet Card to withdraw it from participating ATMs, or cash out to a debit card or linked bank account.

We’ll be announcing more Google Wallet news soon, and would love to hear your feedback (just select Help > Feedback in the app). For updates on Google Wallet, subscribe to this blog, or follow Google Wallet on Twitter and Google+.

The new Google Wallet is available today on Google Play and the App Store today. Visit the Google Wallet website for more.
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Posted by Pali Bhat, Director of Product Management, Android Pay

P.S. Looking to pay with your Android phone, or store loyalty and gift cards? Click here to learn more about Android Pay

*MasterCard is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated.(image)



Google Express: Now available to over 25 million more people in the Midwest

2015-09-08T09:39:50.236-07:00

Today, we’re delighted to launch Google Express to over 25 million more people, with overnight delivery in the Midwest—across six different states and the Greater Chicagoland area. That’s right, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin: we’re coming to a doorstep near you.

Since launching Google Express just under two years ago, we’ve made many shoppers very happy, alongside our wonderful stores. Whether same-day in our seven metro areas or overnight in Northern California, it’s been a pleasure to see the service become part of people’s lives.

One thing is especially clear: people love saving time with us. That’s what we’re really about. Think back-to-school shopping that gives back those last moments of summer. Or family shopping that leaves more time for the family.

In the Midwest, we’re delighted to offer Google Express with the following wonderful stores. Deep breath... Ace Hardware, Barnes & Noble, Costco, Fry’s Electronics, Kohl’s, L’Occitane en Provence, Moosejaw, PetSmart, Road Runner Sports, Staples, Toys “R” Us & Babies “R” Us, Treasure Island Foods, Ulta Beauty, The Vitamin Shoppe, Walgreens and Wrigleyville Sports. Phew!

So, we hope you enjoy easy, convenient and speedy shopping, Midwesterners. We’re certainly going to enjoy being in your part of the world—getting things you need delivered from stores you love.

Posted by Brian Elliott, General Manager, Google Express(image)



Reach more customers online: Add GTINs to your Google Shopping data feed

2015-09-11T09:01:11.750-07:00

With Google Shopping, finding the right customers starts with creating a good product data feed: the better your feed, the more easily we can connect you with online shoppers, searching for what you sell. Key to creating a complete feed is clearly and accurately specifying which products you have for sale.For most products, the manufacturer will provide a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) to uniquely and completely identify a product in the global marketplace. We’ve found that providing GTINs in your product data feed increases the likelihood that your offers are matched to the Google Shopping product catalog. This helps us surface relevant, accurate results on Google Shopping; in fact, early experiments indicate that offers matched to the catalog receive up to 40% more user clicks than those that do not1.That’s why, as part of the 2015 update to the Google Shopping Products Feed Specification shared in June, we refined our guiding principles and requirements around GTINs. Starting September 15, we’ll require Google Shopping feeds targeting Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or the United States to submit valid ‘gtin’ and ‘brand’ for all products when the ‘brand’ is a designated brand and the ‘condition’ is ‘new’. At that time, we’ll disapprove offers that do not meet this requirement or are submitted with invalid GTINs.If you don’t already have correct, complete GTINs in your data feed, here’s how you can easily find them:Find GTINs individually. Look for the 12 or 13 digit number printed below the barcode on your product’s packaging. For example, the ASUS Flip C100PA DB01 10.1″ Touchscreen Chromebook should be submitted with a ‘gtin’ as 00889349062166 and ‘brand’ as ASUS. Find GTINs in bulk. GTINs are used in many warehouse management systems to identify and manage inventory and can often be exported from this in bulk. Check with your IT colleagues to see if they can help you get GTIN data in your feeds. Make sure you’re using the correct brand. Merchants may mistakenly give us the incorrect brand for a product by using ‘brand’ to indicate that a product is compatible with, or an accessory or replacement part for a product from that brand. For example, a mobile phone case that is compatible with an Apple iPhone 6 listing “Apple” as the brand is misleading to shoppers and can result in your ads being disapproved. Instead, it should provide the brand for the product, and use the ‘title’ and ‘description’ fields to explain compatibility information instead.Note: It’s important to not try to make up a placeholder GTIN or use the same one for multiple, different products, as our systems will detect this and disapprove your offers. Once you’ve updated your data feed with valid, accurate GTINs, you can resubmit your feed for processing and get more of your products on Google Shopping.In some rare cases, you’ll find products from a designated brand where no valid GTIN exists (these are often products where you are the sole merchant selling this product or for replacement parts). If you encounter this situation, we’re rolling out a new feature in Merchant Center that allows you to request a review of disapproved offers. Starting September 15, if you believe your item was incorrectly disapproved and would like to request a manual review, follow these steps to get your products approved and showing on Google Shopping:In the Products tab, click on the title of the item to view the page for that individual item. Click the link for "Why is this item disapproved?" Review the policies related to your item disapproval, and then check the box that acknowledges that you reviewed the information. Select "Request manual review."This gives our team a chance to review your products; if we determine that the[...]



Pay your way with Android

2015-05-29T11:57:15.686-07:00

Credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, cash, coins. Forget fumbling through your wallet next time you’re in a store—what if you could pay with just a tap?Introducing Android Pay, the simple and secure way to pay with your Android phone. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OueObu2aA_M" width="560">Things are more interesting when we create them together. So we’ve approached Android Pay the same way we approach every other part of the Android family -- partnering with the ecosystem -- bringing together mobile carriers, payment networks, banks and retailers to deliver you choice and flexibility. And offering developers an open platform to collectively push mobile payments forward. Tap to pay in storesWith Android Pay, you can simply unlock your phone like you normally do, place it near a merchant’s contactless terminal, and you’re good to go. Android Pay does all the heavy lifting. You don’t even need to open an app—just tap and go. You’ll also see a payment confirmation and get transaction details right on your phone.Also, with select retailers, your loyalty programs and special offers will be automatically applied at checkout. For example, when you tap to buy a Coke at a vending machine, your MyCokeRewards will be automatically applied. With Android Pay the contactless terminal not only receives your payment info, but also your loyalty programs and offers.Tap to pay in apps Making an online purchase? The days of entering your credit card and shipping address each time you make a purchase online will be a thing of the past. Just select “Buy with Android Pay” and leave the rest to us; checkout is as fast as a tap. To make it easier for developers to add Android Pay to your favorite apps, we’ve designed our platform to work with any payment processor. And we’re partnering with top payments processors including Braintree, CyberSource, First Data, Stripe and Vantiv to make integration even easier.The choice is yours With Android Pay you will be able to pay with your credit or debit card, across multiple Android devices, and at thousands of stores and apps that you already know and love. And by enabling bank apps to integrate with our platform, you’ll be able to add your credit and debit cards directly from bank apps for use with Android Pay. It's still early days, but we're very excited and think that this type of open platform will help drive adoption in mobile payments. Security is at the center of Android PayWe know how important it is for you to keep your personal and financial information secure. Therefore, we’re working with leading payment networks and financial institutions in the US to deliver industry standard security tokenization, to support Android Pay’s launch later this year. So when you shop at a store, Android Pay won’t send your actual credit or debit card number with your payment. Instead we’ll use a virtual account number to represent your account information -- providing you with an extra layer of security. And if your phone is ever lost or stolen, simply use Android Device Manager to instantly lock your device from anywhere, secure it with a new password or even wipe it clean of your personal information. Shop at your favorites Android Pay will soon be accepted at over 700,000 store locations from your favorite brands across the US, and in over 1000 Android apps. And we’ll be adding more every day. Android Pay in storesAndroid Pay in appsStay TunedAndroid Pay will be available on Google Play for download soon. And when your bank integrates, you could also activate Android Pay directly from your bank app. We are also working with major US mobile carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon) to help ensure that when you buy a new Android phone, you can walk out the door ready to use Android Pay. Look forward [...]



#ExpressYourLove this Mother’s Day with Google Express

2015-05-03T09:59:22.166-07:00

This Mother’s Day, everything is coming up roses. Google Express is excited to celebrate this Mother’s Day by teaming up with 1800-Flowers this Sunday, May 3rd for a celebration in perhaps one of the most colorful (and sweetest smelling) ways possible -- with roses, gerbera, lilies and more. So what’s on deck? The party kicks off at The Village at Corte Madera located at 1618 Redwood Highway at the Center Court. Surprise mom with your own bloom creation at our free DIY workshop where you can learn a thing or two about the various flowers you can choose from: roses, oriental lilies, bells of ireland and more. Event starts at 11am and lasts until 6pm, with the “Build-A-Bouquet” bar open from 11am - 3pm or while blooms last. A photographer will be on hand to capture your smiling face in front of our blooming backdrop featuring 30,000 fresh flowers, so you can send mom a digital postcard, wherever she may be. And if you want to really go the extra mile for mom this Mother’s Day, enter the code EXPRESSLOVE at checkout for $15 off1 your first purchase on Google Express. Consider this your chance to finally settle who’s her favorite in the family. -- start shopping for gifts and win her over today. Hope to see you and your families there! 1Applies only to 1st purchase (even if it’s less than the coupon value). Valid until May 15, 2015 while your account’s active. Alcohol, gift cards, membership costs and shipping & service fees excluded. For complete terms and conditions, see g.co/shopex/terms.[...]



Helping small businesses reach new customers with Google Shopping

2015-04-29T09:00:11.156-07:00

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.1But 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 onlineUnique, 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. allowfullscreen="" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/s0qTI41cZJQ/0.jpg" frameborder="0" height="266" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/s0qTI41cZJQ?feature=player_embedded" width="320">PUBLIC Bikes reaches more searching cyclists with Google ShoppingMulti-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. allowfullscreen="" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/vwo5Xv_mJJY/0.jpg" frameborder="0" height="266" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vwo5Xv_mJJY?feature=player_embedded" width="320">A new hub for retailers, large and smallWhether 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 C[...]



Ordering food? Let Google Wallet help you with faster checkout.

2015-04-09T14:58:57.000-07:00

After a long day, you're on your way home, phone in hand and click on your favorite app to have food delivered in no-time. Sound familiar? You're not alone. People are ordering food and drinks through their smartphones more and more, everyday. But having to type all your credit card information through that tiny keyboard can be a hassle. So we’ve joined forces with many of your favorite food and beverage brands to add Google Wallet at checkout, allowing you to place orders in as few as two clicks.This week, we welcome Dunkin’ Donuts and Seamless, who have integrated with Google Wallet, bringing fast, convenient and secure checkout to their Android users.You can get your cravings filled fast by placing your order using Google Wallet on a variety of apps and mobile sites, including: Dunkin’ Donuts now brings its guests a faster way to purchase and recharge their mobile Dunkin’ Donuts Cards in the Dunkin’ Donuts Mobile® App on Android. By simply selecting Google Wallet at checkout, Dunkin’ Donuts guests can recharge their cards with a couple of clicks—no need to type in credit card information anymore. And hungry Seamless customers will start to see the Google Wallet payment option available in their Android app, helping them get their grub – a delicious array of 80+ cuisine types – in a snap.Papa John’s is also excited to have integrated with Google Wallet in November last year.  "In today's digital economy, consumers are increasingly turning to their smart phones for online purchases, highlighting the importance of convenience and payment security," said Bob Kraut, Papa John's chief marketing officer. "Google Wallet was Papa John's first venture into mobile payments, and now with more than 50 percent of our sales taking place on mobile or computer, the partnership provides our customers a better and more secure ordering experience."Download the Dunkin’ Donuts,  Seamless and Papa John's Android apps today to order using Google Wallet.A recipe for business successHaving to type shipping and billing information on mobile devices can be a difficult experience—it's one of the ​main ​reasons mobile shoppers abandon their shopping carts. Google Wallet ​helps make checkout simpler so we've been partnering with platforms like Shopify, ChowNow and Shopgate to bring faster checkout to thousands of stores and restaurants.Next time you're shopping on your mobile phone, look for Google Wallet and you're done! Posted by Hana Chang, Head of Commerce Platforms [...]



Product ratings on Google Shopping now help shoppers in the UK, France and Germany make decisions

2015-03-26T02:00:02.631-07:00

Last year, we introduced product ratings on Product Listing Ads in the US to help consumers make better purchase decisions when shopping online. Since the initial launch, we’ve been working to bring product ratings to more countries, and this week we launched in the UK, France and Germany.

Product ratings appear in the form of stars and review counts on Product Listing Ads across google.com, google.com/shopping and their equivalents in the UK, France and Germany. This 5-star rating system represents aggregated review data for the product, compiled from multiple sources including merchants, third-party aggregators, editorial sites and users.

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Product ratings for juicers, as indicated by stars and total review counts
Product ratings help consumers make better purchase decisions before they click, driving more qualified traffic to participating merchants. Since the US launch in July 2014, we’ve seen an average click-through rate increase of five percent on Product Listing Ads with product ratings.

Product ratings also help merchants differentiate their Product Listing Ads. Dave Abbott, Vice President of Online Marketing for The Home Depot, says, “customers look for product validation through reviews and ratings. Providing this info is valuable to our customers and provides The Home Depot with a competitive advantage on Google.”

How to enable product ratings on your Product Listing Ads

Product ratings are available to merchants targeting their Product Listing Ads to the US, UK, France or Germany. Merchants must share all of their product review content with Google, either directly or through an approved third-party aggregator, in order to show product ratings.

If you would like to enable product ratings on your Product Listing Ads, please start the process of submitting your review content to us by completing our product ratings form. Our team will then reach out to you with details on next steps.

Product ratings are one of several extensions we may show with Product Listing Ads, so please note that just because a product has reviews does not mean that we’ll always show ratings. We’re also working to expand product ratings to more countries this year, so please stay tuned.

Posted by Archana Kannan, Product Manager, Google Shopping
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How Will Your Store Reach More Omni-Channel Shoppers This Year?

2015-03-24T05:00:12.283-07:00

The customer is always right, at least that’s what they say.If you believe in that, then stores must acknowledge the reality that shoppers really, really like their smartphones. They carry and shop with them wherever they go—to the bathroom, to competitor stores, everywhere. What’s a retailer to do?You have three options: Do nothing, resist change, or embrace it. Macy’s Inc, the world’s largest fashion retailer, chose the latter. Since Mar. 2010, their stock is up 240%. How did they do it?Their success is due in part to fusing their “multi-channel” approach into a singularly focused omni-channel one. “We used to have two separate, siloed budgets,” explains Serena Potter, group vice president of digital media strategy at Macy’s. “Now we really only have one marketing budget. We look at what’s the best way to spend that; whether it’s digital or offline, and focus on how they work together to deliver the most sales and the best customer experience.”In other words, Macy’s Inc and others like them no longer compete with their online or offline selves. They don’t fear showrooming, get anxious when a smartphone shopper consults her phone in the aisle, or fret when a consumer jumps from one channel to another mid-sale. They view these realities as new opportunities; new moments to interact with consumers and increase loyalty.There’s upside in doing so. Smartphone or omni-channel shoppers have 30% higher lifetime value than single-channel shoppers, according to a recent study from market researcher IDC.1 How can retailers understand and convert these higher value shoppers?The answer: Omni-measurement. In order to realize success, retailers must increase their understanding of omni-shopper behavior. Omni-measurement not only does this, but it enables mouth-watering marketing programs, including predictive campaigns, site-to-store funnelling (and vice versa), enhanced purchase frequency, and automated messaging and product recommendations.Leading retailers such as Macy’s, Office Depot, PetSmart, Sprint and others are increasingly turning to Google measurement tools such as Adometry, DoubleClick, and AdWords Store Visits, and Store Transactions for a complete view of consumer behavior across all paths, channels, and beyond just clicks.For example, Sprint discovered that paid search ads drove five in-store sales for each online sale.2 Knowing that, the company increased their focus and deepened their understanding of the role smartphones play in the purchasing journey. With AdWords Store Visits enabled, Sprint achieved a 31% higher visit rate3 from mobile search ad clicks versus desktop search ad clicks. This knowledge was instrumental in helping the carrier create a more seamless online to in-store experience recently. “Over the last several years, we’ve really thought about how that experience when a consumer gets into the store can continue to build on that bridge we’ve made in digital,” says Evan Conway, Sprint’s vice president of digital. “We’ve looked at the transactions and conversations that our sales associates were already having with the consumer and then we tried to build the tools, technology, and content to make the in-store experience better.”PetSmart, too, was better able to omni-measure foot traffic using Store Visits reporting in AdWords. For them, the data revealed that 10–18% of all search ad clicks resulted in an in-store visit within 30 days.4"As a national retailer building a sophisticated local marketing strategy, PetSmart has seen tremendous value in Store Visits data. This data has helped solve an incomplete puzzle,” says Phil Bowman, PetSmart's executive vice president. “Historically, we’ve relied on numerous approximations to[...]



The new shopping assistant: 5 ways retailers can drive foot traffic with smartphones

2015-03-20T10:48:50.819-07:00

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 surveyed71% expect clerks to know or find product information more quickly now, due to smartphones46% of smartphone shoppers browse the retailer’s own site or app in-storeBut 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 nowUse Local In[...]



Tap, tap. Who's there? Google Wallet and Softcard!

2015-02-23T09:00:01.966-08:00

We first introduced Google Wallet's tap and pay feature in 2011, and since then, mobile payments have grown rapidly. You can use the Google Wallet app on Android devices, on any carrier network, to tap and pay anywhere NFC is accepted. Over the years, we've received great feedback from people who use this feature and we’ve continued investing to make it easy and secure for more people to pay with their phones. A big part of this is working with other innovators in the industry to help provide a seamless experience across a wide range of phones and stores.

So today, we’re excited to announce that we're working with AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, as well as their mobile payments company Softcard, to help more Android users get the benefits of tap and pay. Under this relationship, the Google Wallet app, including the tap and pay functionality, will come pre-installed on Android phones (running KitKat or higher) sold by these carriers in the US later this year. We’re also acquiring some exciting technology and intellectual property from Softcard to make Google Wallet better.

From tap and pay to storing loyalty and gift cards to sending money to friends, we've been working hard to make the Google Wallet app even more useful to you -- and there's lots more to come.

Posted by Ariel Bardin, Vice President of Payments


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Dimensional weight support in Google Merchant Center lets you specify more accurate shipping rates

2015-02-04T09:00:03.726-08:00

When shoppers search for the best deals online, they want to know the full cost of an item -- including the cost of shipping. In fact, we’ve seen that unexpected shipping costs are a common reason for users abandoning their online shopping purchases. That’s why we’ve been focused on making it even easier for you to showcase the right shipping cost to online shoppers, when they’re ready to buy.

Carrier-calculated rates in Google Merchant Center are an easy and convenient way to set up accurate shipping rates if you use one of the supported carriers. In the US, several major carriers recently announced that they’ve begun applying dimensional weight pricing when calculating the rates of their shipments. With this change, package pricing not only factors in the weight of the package, but also its dimensions.

To help you show accurate shipping rates for your items, we’re introducing support for dimensional weight shipping rates in Google Merchant Center. This update lets you define the dimensions of your packages used in shipping taking into account the length, width, and height of a package -- in addition to the weight you already provide.

We’ve created three new attributes that you can add to your product data to provide the dimensions of shipping packages for an item: ‘shipping length’, ‘shipping width’, and ‘shipping height’. Starting today, when you include these attributes, Google will calculate carrier-calculated shipping rates for supported carriers by taking into account dimensional weights. This ensures that calculated rates reflect dimensional shipping rates to provide users with the most accurate costs.

To learn more about dimensional shipping, visit our Help Center article, and select ‘United States’ at the top.

Posted by Sven Herschel, Product Manager, Google Merchant Center(image)



Now available in the UK: Send and request money right from Gmail

2015-01-29T08:43:18.800-08:00

Since we announced Send Money in Gmail, paying back your friends has never been so simple, whether you’re chipping in for lunch or reimbursing your housemate for your share of the rent. Today, we're excited to make this feature available for Gmail users in the UK.This means people in the UK will now be able to quickly and securely send money to friends and family in the UK directly within desktop Gmail -- even if the recipient doesn't have a Gmail address. Sending and receiving money in Gmail is free and easy. To send money in Gmail, hover over the attachment paperclip, click the £ icon to attach money to your message, enter the amount you wish to send, and press send. You can also request money in Gmail by hovering over the attachment paperclip and clicking the £ icon to attach the request to a Gmail message. allowfullscreen="" center="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FVKwbZOFh3o" text-align:="" width="560">When you receive money for the first time, you’ll need to claim it by setting up a Google Wallet Balance and linking your debit card or bank account. After that, your money can be kept in your Wallet Balance for later sending, for spending on Google Play, or you can quickly transfer it to your bank account. We’re rolling out this feature over the coming weeks to all UK Gmail users over 18 years old, so keep an eye out for the £ icon in the attachment options. Learn more at google.co.uk/wallet.Posted by Travis Green, Product Manager, Google Wallet[...]



Happy Omnidays!

2014-12-08T14:51:00.086-08:00

December of 2014 may be remembered as the first truly omni-channel holiday season: the year retailers really stretched the sales funnel to include mobile, store visits and online buying under one big connected holiday umbrella.Let's take a break from the holiday dash to see what we can learn from companies that have been creating unified shopping experiences for consumers while ringing in bigger and better profits for themselves. We'll start with a salute to three great examples of omni-channel thinking: Macy's, Sephora and REI.Macy'sWhen over 15,000 people streamed into Macy's main New York City store at 6 pm this Thanksgiving Day, CEO Terry Lundgren wasn't too surprised. Omni-channel helped put those shoppers there. “So far, people are gravitating to the doorbusters," Lundgren said the next day. "There’s so much information online, so they’re doing that research and going right for those doorbusters."1Macy's has been working for years to focus its marketing and retail teams into a group with a single vision on omni-channel conversions just like these. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/L62N0XOsmgU" width="560">"That incentive, of growing the number of omni-channel customers, is something we have shared over the last couple of years," says Jennifer Kasper, Macy's Group VP for Digital Media and Multi-cultural Marketing.Sephora "In retail, you can't think of mobile as a threat. You have to think about it as a magnet to draw that client into your store." That quote from Bridget Dolan, Sephora's VP Interactive Media, says it all about how Sephora has been winning with omni-media.Sephora's progressive approach is the result of watching, and actually listening to, its customers. Today the Sephora mobile app lets shoppers scan products right off the shelf and see if they're right for their look. They can also look up past purchases, in case they want that same great shade of lipstick or eye shadow again. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/UfIz0PYyucw" width="560">New research shows that 46% of shoppers who use mobile devices in-store say they turn to the retailer’s site or app for information while they shop.2 "I really can't believe how much of our traffic is now coming from mobile devices," says Bridget Dolan, "and how many of our clients are using search as the way that they figure out which products they want to buy while they're standing in-store."REIThe trusted outdoor retailer’s stores – especially its flagship locations -- are paradise for anyone who plays outside. REI now uses digital as a way to pull customers right into that local store experience.  After researching online, REI customers come into the store to try on those hiking boots or skis and then make the purchase. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/OWXPs3CBO-U" width="560">Google/Ispos/Sterling research shows 69% of shoppers say they gather information from physical stores at some point in their shopping cycle.3 "One of the things we know definitively is that all of our digital tools really connect our members to our stores," says Annie Zipfel, SVP of Marketing for REI. "So they're often researching product online… and ultimately they're coming in the store to make that purchase."What can we take away from these three examples of omni-channel success?1) Care less about where. All three of these retailers are focused on using all channels to drive sales — wherever those sales might happen. As Jennifer Kasper of Macy's puts it, "The bottom line is, we're indif[...]



Shoppers Go Mobile Black Friday Weekend

2014-11-24T16:29:24.231-08:00

With more and more retailers offering holiday deals earlier in the season, the excitement about Black Friday is no longer confined to a single day. Now it’s more like a month-long event. As a result, one in five shoppers plan to head to stores on Thanksgiving Day to capitalize on Black Friday deals.1 To get a read on the trends heading into Black Friday, we took the temperature of holiday shopping online. We looked at search trends on Google, insights from Google Consumer Surveys and top trending purchases on our same-day delivery service, Google Express.Mobile shoppers are out in forceAs smartphone shoppers hunt for deals during snackable moments throughout their day, this holiday season will likely be the most mobile ever. Shopping searches on Google coming from smartphones have increased 3.5x year over year and continue to grow.2 And we’re currently sending more mobile traffic to retailers per week from Google Shopping than we did during the peak of last holiday season.3The smartphone has become the most powerful shopping assistant while consumers are out and about, helping us read customer reviews, watch product demos and find other retailers with product in stock nearby. So it’s no surprise that the top spending days in 2013 for in-store sales are also the days we saw the biggest spikes in shopping searches on mobile devices.4 This coming weekend, expect to see many of your fellow shoppers checking for deals on their smartphone while braving the lines and crowds at the mall. Nearly 50% of 25–34 year-olds use their phone to shop online while standing in line at a store.5 To help these shoppers research products more easily this holiday weekend, we rolled out new mobile features to Google Shopping such as 360-degree imagery and more detailed product information.Top trending gifts of the seasonTo get a sense of the hottest gifts likely to sell out this season, we used Google Trends to identify the top trending toys, devices and apparel searches on Google Shopping.Game consoles and tablets continue to be the top gifts trending on Google Shopping, but wearable technology such as the “fitbit” is also on the rise this month. Certain retro toys are making a comeback this season. Thanks to the new movie “Ouija,” searches for “Ouija boards” are up 300% since October. And queries for “Barbie Dream House” and “My Little Pony” are up as well compared to last month. 6Cold-weather staples, such as “Hunter boots” and “Canada Goose jackets,” are among the most popular apparel searches, up 46% and 140%, respectively, since October. But “jogger pants” are the newcomer gift this season, up 39% from October. 7Hunting for deals onlineShoppers are already prepping for Black Friday shopping by researching purchases and deals online. We found that 27% of shoppers have already begun hunting for Black Friday deals online.8 The top questions people are asking about Black Friday on Google Search are:What time do stores open on Black FridayWhat time does Black Friday startWhen does Black Friday endWhat to buy on Black FridaySource: Google data, November 2014.Beating the holiday rush with same-day deliveryWe wanted to take the pulse of the people making purchases this weekend as they prepare for the Thanksgiving festivities. Here’s an overview of the top trending purchases on Google Express across locations.9San Francisco: No gingerbread cookies here. San Franciscans are seeking a nutritious holiday with lots of bananas, avocado, coconut water and quinoa. And talk about eating clean: Disinfecting wipes are also among [...]



New ways to rev up your Shopping campaigns

2014-11-19T09:31:22.472-08:00

Want to get more impressions and clicks for your Shopping campaigns? Or want to know how to spot missed opportunities in your bidding strategy and find your mobile share of voice? We introduced competitive landscape data last year so you can start answering those burning questions, and today, we’re excited to announce a handful of additions that’ll help you find new ways to optimize your Shopping campaigns and engage shoppers on all devices.Auction insights report lets you compare your Product Listing Ad (PLA) performance to other advertisers participating in the same auctions as you are. With impression share, overlap rate and outranking share, you’re able to see trends amongst your peers and strategic opportunities to improve your bidding strategies.Search impression share has been revamped to be more useful and aligned with text ads. You can now analyze your share of voice at the granularity you want with Search impression share in the Dimensions tab. You’ll know which campaigns are limited by a low budget with Lost IS (budget) and which ones need further optimization with Lost IS (rank). Note that we now calculate Search impression share at account level so you may notice a change in impression share between October and November.Device and time segmentation are available to help you refine your bid modifier strategy. You can see if your peers received more mobile impressions than you over the weekend with the Auction insights report segmented by device and day.Bid simulator columns show you what your advertising results could’ve been had you set different bids. You can add these columns in your Product groups tab and, for example, find product groups that’ll drive the most incremental clicks.Flattened view of your product groups presents another way to analyze your performance. It allows you to sort your product groups within an ad group based on performance data and easily identify which to optimize. For example, you can sort by impression share, find a few product groups with the lowest impression share, and fine-tune those bids within a matter of clicks.We hope these additions will help you identify easy-wins for the holidays and unlock new, more actionable ways to optimize your Shopping campaigns. We’ll continue to explore other reporting needs so you have relevant and useful data at your fingertips. Visit our help center articles for more information on Auction insights, Search impression share, bid simulator columns, and the flattened product groups view.Posted by Dimitris Meretakis, Product Manager, Google Shopping[...]



New Study: The Impact of Digital On In-Store Shopping

2014-11-07T10:41:38.012-08:00

Research finds surprises about how smartphones and online information affect in-store shopping.We've all heard the theories that people who do research online no longer care about the in-store experience … or don't even go to physical stores any more. Or that shoppers who use a smartphone in a store are looking to buy elsewhere.Google decided to find out how much of this is true. We've just run a research study with Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands with the goal of discovering how smartphones and online information have changed the in-store experience.The results, as they say, may surprise you. The full details are available at Think With Google. But here's a sneak peek at what we learned.First, the study confirmed two things most of us have suspected:Yes, today's consumers are better-informed than ever before. They crave information throughout the shopping process, and often use smartphones to get it.But we also learned that three pieces of "common wisdom" were really more like myths:Myth #1: Search results only send consumers to e-commerce sites.The reality: The things people find in search results actually can send them to local stores. In fact, 3 in 4 people who said they found local information in search results helpful also said what they learned made them more likely to visit a store.Myth #2: Once an in-store shopper starts looking at her smartphone, the store has lost her attention and her sale.The reality: In-store smartphone moments are actually a good opportunity for brick-and-mortar stores to connect with shoppers and to help them make a decision. 46% of those shoppers say they look at the retailer's own site or app for information. Only 30% look up details from a different retailer’s web site or app.Myth #3: With so much information available online, shoppers only go to stores to transact.The reality: Shoppers actually want more, not less, out of their in-store experience. They want informed, customized experiences. 69% of shoppers said they gathered information from physical stores at some point in their shopping cycle. The catch is that 2 out of 3 shoppers said they didn't find all the info they wanted.What does it all mean? Simply this: smartphones are a friend, not an enemy, to in-store shopping. There are new opportunities for brands and stores to engage with customers in creative ways before, during, and after the customer’s shopping journey — one that may begin online and end up in-store. Search results, mobile ads, and mobile sites and apps can be magnets that draw consumers into stores and engage them while they're there. Smartphones and online information can also be a powerful way to create customized experiences for the consumer.We discovered plenty of surprising insights in our study. See all the details at Think With Google » Plus, check out videos of Macy's, REI, and Sephora marketing execs sharing their approach for linking digital to store here.[...]



New Ways to Add Money to Wallet Balance

2014-10-29T14:28:52.496-07:00

What if you never needed to remember to add money to your Wallet Balance? Now, you don’t. With the latest version of Google Wallet you’ll be able to add money automatically to your Wallet Balance and set up Low Balance alerts, so that you’ll always have money in your Wallet Balance when you need it.Add Money Automatically  Today, we are announcing a new way to add money to your Wallet Balance automatically through recurring bank transfers. The feature is secure, and will give you fast access to your money, with no Google Wallet fees.With recurring bank transfers, adding money to your Wallet Balance takes care of itself. Simply schedule a recurring transfer from your bank account right into your Wallet Balance, and never worry about adding money to your Wallet Balance again. Choose the amount, set a schedule (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) and you’re all set. Money will be added to your Wallet Balance automatically, and you can cancel your transfer at any time.To set up a recurring transfer,go to “Add money” then select“Set up a recurring transfer”                         There are no fees or minimum balance requirements for your Wallet Balance. And rest assured, your money is safe. Your Wallet Balance is backed by 24/7 fraud monitoring and the Google Wallet Fraud Protection Guarantee, which covers 100% of any transactions made without your authorization. If your device is lost or stolen, you can easily disable the Google Wallet app online or by contacting Google customer support.Set up Low Balance Alerts With Low Balance alerts, you can keep track of your Wallet Balance and make sure you have enough to pay for the things you need, or to send money to friends and family.To set up Low Balance alerts, open the Google Wallet app and touch “Low Balance alert” from the Wallet Balance screenSpend your Wallet Balance in stores by swiping your Google Wallet Card at millions of locations in the US (including the District of Columbia) where Debit MasterCard® is accepted*, or use it to withdraw cash from an ATM. You can also use your Wallet Balance to Tap & Pay with any Android device running Kit Kat or higher at hundreds of thousands of locations throughout the US, on any mobile carrier. And as always, you can use it to make online purchases on Google Play, Google Express and anywhere you see the “Buy with Google” button.Download the new version of the Google Wallet app on the Google Play Store and the App Store rolling out this week in the US, to use these new features.Posted by Andrew Waterman, Product Manager, Google Wallet* The Google Wallet Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard is a registered trademark of MasterCard® International Incorporated. See Cardholder Agreement for details.[...]



Google Express: more cities, more stores and a new name

2014-10-28T14:09:42.035-07:00

One year ago, the first Google Shopping Express order was delivered—a box of granola. Our idea was to make shopping your favorite local stores as easy and fast as shopping online, and to help you get what you need delivered the same day. Since then, you’ve told us how we helped you restock diapers in the nick of time, made sure you had Bananagrams for family game night, and even made you feel connected to the outside world when you were home sick. Along the way, we've expanded to new locations, brought on more merchants, and offered more products. And now, we’re adding to the program you love.More cities, more stores and more productsStarting today, we’re expanding to three new cities: Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Across all our cities, more than 7 million people can now access our same-day delivery service, and in Northern California almost 12 million can use our next-day service.We’re also adding more merchants: 16 in total over the last couple of months. We’ve added national brands including 1-800-Flowers, Barnes & Noble, Nine West, PetSmart, Vitamin Shoppe and Sports Authority, and regional merchants such as Paragon Sports in New York and Vicente Foods in Los Angeles. In our new markets, we’ve added regional brands including Stop & Shop in Boston; Giant Food in D.C.; and Lux Roses, TigerDirect, Treasure Island Foods and Wrigleyville Sports in Chicago. Additionally, customers in the Bay Area who are 21 and over can now order alcohol. Cheers (and please drink responsibly)!Express membershipStarting today, shoppers who decide to become Google Express members will enjoy:Free same-day or overnight delivery on eligible orders over $15.* First dibs on delivery windowsShared membership with a household memberMembership costs $95/year or $10/month. Or you can choose to pay as you go, at $4.99 per eligible order. Learn more on our Help Center. Either way, we don’t add any hidden markups, so you pay the same price for your stuff on Google Express as you would in-store.New shoppers can try the first three months of membership for free. You can cancel it at any time, so it’s easy to test it out and decide if you like it.A shorter nameWe've also noticed people referring to us as "Google Express"—and we love it. So as of today, we've simplified our name. Plus, we've added a punch of color to our parachute:With more cities, more merchants, and more of your favorite items, Google Express is on its way toward making your life easier by helping you get even more errands out of the way. We hope to give you more free time—and we can’t wait to hear about all the things you do with it.Posted by Brian Elliott, Head of Partnerships, Google Shopping*Free delivery means no shipping & service fees. Same day or overnight depends on availability of delivery windows. Eligible orders are $15+ before taxes/fees in select delivery areas and exclude restricted items. Service fees apply to ineligible orders. Pricing may change. Requires active membership subject to terms & conditions.[...]



Halloween's Hottest Costume Trends Are Frozen

2014-10-28T14:09:55.953-07:00

Are you an Elsa, Olaf or Anna? Judging by the top trending searches for Halloween costumes on Google, you’re going to see a lot of each on the streets this October 31. The characters from Disney’s animated blockbuster make up three of the top five trending costumes this year.While last year’s list featured popular choices from TV (Breaking Bad) and the viral video “What Does The Fox Say,” movie-themed costumes are dominating this year. Maleficent and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes round out the top five. Costumes from Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America and The Avengers take places 6 through 8, while video-game Assassin's Creed and pet costume were the only non-movie themed costumes trend to make the Top 10.With more than half of their traffic coming from Google, online retailer BuyCostumes.com anticipated the surge in interest around these top costumes and tailored their Google Search advertising to ensure that they’re connecting with consumers as they’re looking for this season’s popular costumes.“We watch the trends with a keen eye, especially around this time of year,” said Jennifer Dominiquini, chief marketing officer for BuySeasons, Inc., parent company to BuyCostumes.com. “It is important to us to leverage the trends and ensure those searching for them are finding our brand in their search.”Trick or Doggy Treat?It’s no surprise that canine companions frequently join the family as they take to the streets, going door to door, but more and more people are looking to incorporate their dogs into the Halloween spirit. Searches for dog costumes are trending nearly 15% higher than last year, and one pet even costume managed to crack the Top Ten trending costumes. At number 9 on this is ‘spider dog’, no doubt inspired by the viral video sensation ‘Mutant Giant Spider Dog’, which has generated more than 99 million views on YouTube since the beginning of September. BuyCostumes.com has been seeing a surge in interest around pet costumes this season, with people also looking for ways to incorpoate their animal friends into themed costumes for the whole family.Halloween, The DIY WayHalloween is one of those holidays filled with the do-it-yourself spirit, particularly if the DIY costume and general Halloween trends on Google Search are any indication:Top 10 Most Searched DIY CostumesTop 10 Halloween DIY SearchesDIY Elsa costumeDIY mermaid costumeDIY couples costumesDIY Minion costumeDIY Minnie Mouse costumeDIY Disney costumesDIY Ninja Turtle costumeDIY superhero costumeDIY Olaf costumeDIY Wonder Woman costumehow to make Halloween propshow to make Halloween invitationshow to make Halloween wreathshow to draw Halloweenhow to decorate for Halloweenhow to draw scary Halloween stuffhow to throw a Halloween partyhow to make a Halloween maskhow to do Halloween makeuphow to plan a Halloween partyBut nowhere is the the DIY Halloween spirit more alive than on YouTube. Last year, nearly one out of three Halloween costume searches on YouTube were for DIY costumes. Searches for DIY costumes on YouTube  grew more than 200% in 2013 compared to the previous year.One DIY area on YouTube that sees a significant seasonal spike every year for Halloween is in makeup. Searches for makeup on YouTube hits a high each October as millions of people search for Halloween inspiration and tips. Whether you’re looking to show off your inner Elsa, are searching for the best outfit for F[...]



2014 Holiday Shopper Research: Shopping Never Sleeps

2014-10-28T14:10:16.422-07:00

This holiday shopping season will be our most connected ever, with devices at our fingertips helping us hunt for deals in short moments—whether it’s on a laptop at work or on a smartphone right before bed. In fact, one third of all shopping searches on Google happen between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m..1 That’s because shopping doesn’t stop once the mall closes. Today’s shopper spends more time than ever researching purchases online at all hours of the day; we’ve gone from midnight snacking to midnight shopping.To understand how digital trends will impact this year’s shopping season, we conducted our annual Holiday Shopper Intentions research with Ipsos MediaCT, surveying consumers on their shopping behavior. We found that people are shopping earlier, using online video to help with research, and turning to smartphones as personal shopping assistants. Black Friday is becoming a month-long eventPeople are starting their research early and retailers are stretching Black Friday promotions across November, changing the focus from just one day to a month-long event. More than half of consumers surveyed said they’ll start their research before Thanksgiving, with 26% of shoppers having started before Halloween.2 Shoppers are also spending more time consulting more sources before making a decision. In 2010, shoppers used five sources of information on average before purchasing, but that has more than doubled with shoppers consulting at least 12 sources last year.3 This means that October through November has become a crucial period for retailers to reach shoppers online, being present with offers, information, how-tos and content.Online shopping is the new window shoppingShoppers are going online for inspiration at all points of their day, not just to research specific products but to see what their friends and favorite influencers are wearing. Sites like YouTube and Pinterest have become the new window displays, and a new generation of fashion influencers like Bethany Mota are influencing shopping decisions. Shopping-related content on YouTube, from unboxing videos to product reviews, is becoming an important part of the holiday research process and is trending up year over year. Haul videos—or the YouTube equivalent of telling your best friend about your latest shopping purchases—spike during key shopping events and hit their peak during Black Friday weekend. Videos with "haul" in the title have have been watched more than 1.1B times on YouTube, and views are up 1.7x this year compared to last year.4And shoppers aren’t just using YouTube for research ahead of time, they’re also looking up videos while they’re in stores to help them make decisions. One in four shoppers say they've used YouTube to search for a video related to a product they're considering while in a store.5 Your phone: The ultimate shopping assistantOne of the biggest enablers for shopping throughout the day is our mobile devices. Our research found that 75% of smartphone shoppers plan to use their phones in-store this holiday season.6 It used to be that shoppers came to the store with little knowledge, and the sales associate educated them on products. Now shoppers are coming into stores teeming with information, and are turning to their phones as personal shopping assistants. One in three shoppers use their smartphones to find info instead of asking sto[...]