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It’s an exciting time to be a local business owner. Thanks to the internet, retailers are now able to reach more customers than ever before. Customers themselves are able to buy from those businesses with ease. Google Shopping is among the most useful tools local retailers have for reaching these customers. Used effectively, Google Shopping lets local and regional businesses go head-to-head with big box and online retailers — and win. Any store has the potential to become a nationwide competitor. There isn’t just one way to use Google Shopping, either. Here’s what you need to know about the web’s biggest advertising platform for retail businesses and how you can make it work for your store. Google Shopping Is the Most Popular Ad Platform for Good Reason Google Shopping’s product listing advertisements have become the most popular ad format for retailers. Research by competitor analysis platform Adthena found that the platform boasts 76.4 percent of all retail search ad spend and is responsible for 85.3 percent of all clicks on Adwords and Google Shopping ads combined. There are several reasons why Google Shopping is so popular with retailers and why local stores should pay particular attention to the platform. The first is visibility. Prominence is the main driver of the Google Shopping platform, according to Adthena VP of Marketing Ashley Fletcher. Since 2016, Google has displayed a carousel of image-based ads at the top of relevant desktop search results page. Today, if a user searches for something as general as “basketball shoes,” for example, a rotating selection of shoes available for purchase is displayed at the top of the search results page. As it stands now, searchers can see up to 30 related product ads from multiple retailers at the top of that search page. Mobile users see their own rich ad content, called Showcase Shopping ads, which feature big images of relevant products from both online and nearby retailers. That means local retailers get slotted in right alongside major brands and national retailers. Further, the quality of web traffic coming from Google Shopping ads is incredibly high, says Sales & Orders marketing manager Anthony Capetola. This is the second reason Google Shopping is an excellent tool for retailers. When people are searching for products on Google (and Google Shopping ads are being displayed), this indicates that those users are very close to making a purchase. Either they are in the final stages of research or they are actively looking to make a purchase that day. So, if one of these users clicks through an ad your business is running, there’s a high likelihood that user is at least price-shopping on your site if not ready to buy. It’s a great time to connect with this person. The data supports this, too. Research by Sales & Orders has found that Google Shopping ads drive 45 percent more revenue, on average, than simple text ads. Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce, reports that he has managed to deliver average returns [...]