Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 2.13.20 PMGoogle released a new tool that alerts users if a nearby store carries an item they  searched for. Google gave no details on how close consumers need to be to receive an alert. The announcement on the Google+ blog coincides with Google’s launch of same-day delivery in New York City and Los Angeles, showing the search king’s determination to capture a larger share of e-commerce.

 

If the new development catches on, Google Now’s app will give retailers an opportunity to drive shoppers (or just passersby) to their brick-and-mortar stores. And having mobile capabilities to supplement Google’s will be crucial to conversion. For example, Google Now does not provide information on whether the item is stocked. An in-store inventory search feature on the retailer’s mobile app or site can determine whether consumers  keep walking or make the purchase.

 

As of now, many brands have not fully optimized their mobile site to take advantage of such opportunities. Only 12% of brands in L2’s Intelligence Report: Mobile & Tablet enable inventory search, and just 40% enable PayPal checkout on mobile. Home Depot, Tourneau, and others have paved the path from mobile to purchase by offering in-store inventory checks, geolocation-enabled store locators, and click-to-call for speaking to customer representatives. Brands a step ahead in introducing smartphone capabilities are likely to reap the benefits of technological advancements.

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