Having the right products in your store at the right time is critical for success in retail – especially for small independent retailers. Have you ever wondered which products are trending right now? Or which products will be hot in the next 3 months? Or maybe the historical best selling dates for some item? Well, Google has a useful free tool that that can be used by retailers to see what people near them are searching for the most. It is called Google Shopping Insights and you can find it at https://shopping.thinkwithgoogle.com/ . The home screen looks like this:
If you haven’t tried it yet; you should. Even though it only has data going back to April 2014, it’s interesting and should become even more useful as Google adds data and features (it’s only in Beta release right now). Shopping Insights details trends by product, cities and devices (mobile vs desktop). You can look for the latest trending products across the US and can also go deeper into the data by city.
According to Google, 87% of shoppers use the internet to research products online but the majority of purchases—92%—are still done at brick-and-mortar stores. This means that Shopping Insights can help you plan what merchandise to stock based on what people near your store are searching for and you might even decide to increase your selling price or markdown items based on the interest in your area.
In order to show you some of the functionality we will go through an example using flip flops as the product. First go to https://shopping.thinkwithgoogle.com/ and enter “flip flops” into the search field. Here is what you should see:
The map is coded so that the darker the color the more the term/item is trending in searches in the various locations. This becomes more useful when you compare a search against another search to compare and contrast. If we add a couple of additional search terms we can see the relative strength of each term.
For this illustration, we will add a couple of brand name flip flops – Gucci flip flops and Rainbow flip flops.
If you are following along in your own browser, you can see that certain geographical areas seem to have more interest in one brand vs the other by clicking on each search term and seeing the different heat maps generated by that brand. In addition, the bottom graph shows you the changing interest levels across the months. This can help you project when to order and when to increase and decrease your advertising.
This kinds of data can help you with purchasing especially when you’re thinking of adding new items to your current inventory.
You can also drill down and look at your local markets by clicking on the location icon and entering your city. Below we’ll at look at “flip flops” versus “Gucci flip flops” versus “Rainbow flip flops” in the Scottsdale, AZ market.
As you can see, for Scottsdale, there’s a lot of flip flop interest in general but much less so for specific brands of Rainbow or Gucci flip flops. This relationship will be very different in different cities so it can help you assess whether it’s worth your time to pursue a market or a specific brand.
This tool is just in Beta release at the moment, but we still think it can be useful right now to retailers. So go take a look!