To help retailers determine which products consumers are most interested in at that particular moment and in a specific location, a new service from Google aggregates search data in remarkable detail. The Google Search Insights tool combines the various keywords, keyphrases, and spelling variations that reflect the ways consumers might search for certain products, then combines these data into heat maps that represent local demand.

GetAssetContentFor example, consumers in Berkeley, Calif., searching for paraphernalia related to the new movie might search for “Star Wars,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “starwars,” or some other variation. Google Search Insights aggregates all these millions of searches, then shows that people in Berkeley are way more interested in Star Wars than in Minions, whereas online shoppers in Madison, Wisc., are focusing their searches on the little yellow Minions rather than on Jedi knights.

In addition to the location, Google can track the popularity of the searches over time and highlight that everyone started searching more for Star Wars in the immediate aftermath of the release of the first trailer for The Force Awakens.

With this location- and time-specific information, retailers can rapidly and appropriately adjust their marketing, supply, and promotions to appeal to what customers want, immediately and locally. In particular, Google links retailers using its Search Insights to its AdWords service, such that they can initiate a new search advertising campaign to respond to emerging demand.

Although Google already offered a version of these analytics, with its Trends service, the new tool provides increased geographic detail and organizes the data according to keywords, rather than products. Furthermore, Search Insights provides information for retailers about whether customers are searching mainly for the pertinent keywords on their mobile devices or through personal computers.

Discussion Question:

How can retailers use Google Shopping Insights to improve their merchandise assortment allocation to stores?

Source: Tom Ryan, “Google Tool Offers Local Insights for Merchants,” Retail Wire, October 29, 2015