Marketers can expect Local Inventory ads from Microsoft Advertising to emerge from beta early this month after the company’s year-long test cycle. Now they just need to get more companies and brands using them to make it more convenient for consumers searching online for nearby products.
Online retailers with brick-and-mortar stores will have an option to use Local Inventory ads to bridge the gap between their online and physical presence beginning in early June.
Crowded stores, fewer employees and more work have made it nearly impossible to get information on the phone about local inventory. The disappointing big picture is that not enough retailers use this simple feature, which is incredibly helpful although it is sometimes annoying.
I, for one, use the ability to search online to find location inventory often. Getting employees to tell you whether there is an item in stock at stores like Home Depot, which stocks thousands of items, is very difficult, if you can get anyone to pick up the phone within 15 minutes. And when it comes to rural areas throughout Wyoming, you’re lucky to get the correct hours of operation online.
Similar to Google Ads, Bing Local Inventory ads are an advertising format for Microsoft Shopping Campaigns that allows brands to serve products and local retail store information to nearby shoppers in Bing.
When a consumer nears a retailer’s physical store and uses their phone to search for a product on Bing, the platform can identify the device and serve an ad with a notification that the product is in the store with an “in store” label.
When a potential customer clicks on the ad, Bing directs the consumer to the retailer’s online store to find information such as the the physical store location, product availability and more -- or the customer can be sent to a Bing hosted storefront displaying information such as directions.
Marketers can get started by importing their store location data from Google My Business into their Microsoft Advertising account, or upload the product feed from Microsoft Shopping campaigns into Microsoft Merchant Center, and then enable Local Inventory Ads for existing and new campaigns.