Google Rolls out a "Nearby" Filter
Local shopping has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, there has been a spike in online shopping, specifically centered around Amazon. But it has also changed the way people shop locally. Instead of going to stores or restaurants to browse and make purchases, people have started looking for what they want online. They're not looking to buy, necessarily, but just to find out who has the right items in stock. Then they want to find out how to purchase those items in person, often with curbside pickup.
Naturally, Google has been paying close attention to this and now has released a nearby search filter that provides these types of shopping results. Using your location services, Google can determine where your phone is located, what stores are closest to you and which ones have the items you want in stock. This can also help you find and order out-of-stock items by directing you to the right stores, if you're still not interested in buying from Amazon or some other online provider.
One of the big differences here is that it's a shift in focus. Traditionally, online search results started with online buying options. The assumption was that people who wanted to buy in person would just go to the store, while those searching online were most often interested in also making that purchase online. With the pandemic and the closure of stores -- at least to crowds -- this assumption no longer holds true. People still see the internet as a way to conduct safe research from home before they go out and buy in person. Google is addressing this to make it easier for these users to get search results that are most relevant to them.
For those who still do want to buy online, nothing changes. Google is still as useful as ever. They just don't have to use the search filter and they'll get the results that they got in a pre-COVID world. They also have the option to turn the filter on and off if they'd like to compare. Perhaps they want to see if they could get something faster in person, for instance, or for a cheaper price without the shipping costs. They can toggle the filter on and off to decide what works best for their specific needs.
A Pivoting World
The world has been pivoting to try to connect consumers with sellers, even in these unprecedented times. It's important to keep a very close eye on these changes. If you're a store owner, you need to think about how they impact you. What type of traffic does your site get? Are customers looking to buy in person or online? Will this new search filter drive extra traffic and get you the exposure you need while foot traffic is down? These are all important questions to ask, and we can help you determine the best course of action here at Content Customs. Let us guide you to get the best results, no matter what the local shopping landscape looks like for you.