Google Shopping

Canadians Embrace Online Shopping

Covid-19 has forced Canada's retailers to go online to stay in business

The Canadian company Shopify is the new darling on Wall Street. Its stock price has risen over 50% since governments shut down non-essential retailers to stop the spread of Covid-19. It’s fitting then that Canadians have gone online to meet their shopping needs. Retailers that had an online presence are finding their eCommerce channels booming.  Those that didn’t are scrambling to get their stores online just to stay in business.

Don't Stand So Close To Me

Canadian consumers have shifted their buying habits online, something unlikely to change once physical distancing restrictions are lifted. As such, retailers need to take actions now and plan long-term digital strategies for their business. Just because non-essential retail operations are open does not mean the return of instore traffic. Consumers will reward retailers who have ecommerce sites, especially where local is concerned. A vaccine is likely a year or more away. Retailers need to plan for the likelihood of reduced foot traffic for the foreseeable future.

As a result related search queries that are on the rise that will likely be with us for some time.  Google Trends are showing an increase in search queries like “curbside pickup” and “online delivery“. Offering these services for the foreseeable future will be a new consumer expectation.

Shoppers have changed their mindsets adapting to the online retail landscape. A recent Google/Ipsos poll conducted April 16-19 showed that 25% of consumers said they tried a new product or brand because the one they normally use was not available. The implication for new stores to insert themselves into these scenarios is profound. The question is how many can capitalize at this moment.

Tell Me What You Really Want

During a pandemic things change week to week. As circumstances change, what we search for online changes week to week too. Take those first weeks in March when governments started asking business to have their employees work from home. Searches for “office chairs” spiked. Eight weeks later we seem desperate to get our hair cut as searches for “hair clipper” has jumped 800%.

For retailers these short bursts of searches can be predictable and provide opportunities to be there in those moments. Some won’t be, but Google Trends is a great tool to keep on top of these changes as they happen. 

800% increase in searches for “hair clipper” in April, 2020

As more Canadian retailers add ecommerce stores new sets of challenges will follow. Getting their stores noticed and found with increased online competition will be difficult. Those that have well established online strategies will have the upper hand.

Google Shopping is one area that can help. Retailers will need to navigate their way through the complicated Google Merchant Centre to take advantage of Surfaces Across Google to boost organic and discovery visibility. In addition, having a well curated Google My Business listing is necessary for people to find them.

This online shopping trend will continue onto important shopping days throughout the year. The most successful retailers start planning for Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Boxing day in the summer. The playbook for holiday shopping in 2020 is being written. Retailers who plan in advance stand to win the day.

Fortunately they have help. Our team can help get them set up on Merchant Centre as well as run a proper Google Shopping strategy.

Retailers that have just started out online can reach out to our team for help getting started with a proper strategy for Google Shopping and Surfaces Across Google.

Find out more on how we manage Google Shopping campaigns here.

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