Two senior industry executives said Google has started a pilot where offline stores in India can list products available at a store level on a real time basis in the search page itself so consumers searching a product can see the variants available and price in their nearest store.
This is Google’s global initiative of what’s in a store and local inventory which it plans to debut in India now, expecting consumers may increase their digital shopping post Covid. It has already started options of pre-ordering and delivery in the search page, the executives said.
Google recently had a joint workshop with Apple in India for retailers where company officials said it may also add features like chat with consumer and seek an appointment before visiting the store on the search page itself, the executives said.
When contacted, a Google spokesperson said it has done a few pilots in India on local inventory ads on the .com domain of Google search, but it doesn’t yet have a formal timeline to launch it in India. The spokesperson said it won’t comment on speculation about new feature roll outs.
However, the spokesperson said during the Covid-19 pandemic, Google added new features on search for businesses such as implementation of safety and hygiene practices and services like delivery and pre-ordering.
Stores of cellphone retail chain Sangeetha Mobiles and Lenskart have been part of the pilot of Google’s what’s in store service in Bengaluru, the industry executives said.
While Sangeetha Mobiles director Chandu Reddy declined to comment on the partnership with Google, he said more consumers are now looking at ways to digitally engage with offline stores.
“Industry is seeing varied new models, not just the typical online commerce and we have to adapt to it,” he said.
Lenskart co-founder Amit Chaudhary said it has integrated store inventory with Google so that consumers can access product before they come to the store by just searching on Google.
“For shoppers ,this is an excellent way to connect to our stores digitally, browse the complete store inventory live, book appointments online and get any help even before they arrive at the doorstep,” said Chaudhary.
At present Google runs its local inventory ad programme in 14 countries such as the US, UK, Japan, Brazil and few European nations.