Google Maps Platform strives to improve the online-to-offline retail experience

Closed stores and social distancing last year drove people to (not surprisingly) turn to online shopping. At the same time, perhaps due to people staying more at home, Google experienced a 100% increase in “____ near me” searches during the pandemic.

Without trying to jinx anything, we are fortunately starting to see the world open back up.  Restrictions are slowly easing, allowing physical stores to return - more or less - back to normal. It’s not likely we will be able to simply get rid of all restrictions, just like that. So, it’s about finding the middle ground when looking at a post-pandemic future.

During the pandemic shoppers have gotten used to the ease of online shopping. So how do we best get people to return to offline shopping in physical stores ? In an attempt to reignite in-person shopping, Google Maps is introducing its Product Locator solution. Along with “near me” searches, Google also saw an increase in “along my route” and “in stock” searches, pointing to a trend of customers looking for convenience when shopping. With the Product Locator solution, customers will be shown the exact distance to specific stores that have the products they want in stock, along with estimated driving time to nudge customers towards choosing a visit to the physical store versus making an online purchase. 

Updated Store Locator Plus solution

Google has updated its Store Locator Solution to become more informative and engaging.  New features include online scheduling and booking for services and appointments, offers for in-store use, and “text-me-directions” services. 

Image: Google

If your business doesn’t already use the Store Locator Plus solution, Google has made it easy for you to create a free demo. With Google’s newly released Quick Builder (a free, low code builder)you can easily customize and build a Store Locator Plus demo solution for your website. 

These are just a few of the exciting innovations that are being developed to improve our wayfinding experience. Are you interested in learning more about these retail solutions or have questions about adopting the latest technology? Our Google Maps experts are ready to help you out.

I want to talk to an expert