Ads Coming to Google Maps

google_maps_icon_r1New visibility for local retailers possible

Google is introducing new Maps ads to help local businesses drive more traffic to their brick-and-mortar businesses. With one billion (and counting) downloads of the Google Maps app and nearly a third of all mobile searches being related to location, this has the potential to connect storeowners with even more nearby shoppers. Location-based searches on mobile devices are increasing 50 percent faster than all mobile searches, according to Google.

smog-check-map_r1Here are some of the features of the redesigned Maps ads, for retailers who buy ad space via AdWords.

• New local search ads will appear on Google Maps with purple ad labels and top ranking in the search results, above organic results. This may be particularly helpful if your store hasn’t been able to move up those rankings with its regular listing. Ads may include “call” and “directions” buttons. A maximum of two businesses’ ads will appear in the list on each map.

• Promoted pins will appear on Google Maps at your location, displaying your store logo. If a potential customer is driving by with Google Maps pulled up, these promoted pins will be displayed.

• Store specials happening right now may be displayed right below the logo at the location of your business on the map. When consumers tap on the logo, your store’s business page will come up. You can show coupons, specials or current promotions, drawing traffic to your store when it is most likely—when the consumer is passing by. You also may have the option to customize your local page to highlight searchable inventory (check with your Google account manager).

Google is also developing more accurate tools for its analytics for small businesses—showing conversions to store visits, likely through the use of beacons (Bluetooth devices that transmit messages to nearby mobile devices).

Next steps for storeowners: Enable location extensions and make sure your Google My Business entry is fully populated and up-to-date. For your ad campaign, target a specific location and set bids for people in that location. Finally, optimize your keywords (think like a customer) so they relate to your location and what people are looking for locally. For more on local Maps ads, see: For Google’s guide to driving store sales with AdWords campaigns, go to:

instagram2_r1Instagram Introduces “Stories”
Another way to build buzz for your store

Instagram has introduced a new feature that lets you post multiple videos and photos throughout the day. It could be a great way to build buzz—taking customers behind the scenes for a sneak peek as new products arrive, get unpacked and are put on display at the store, for instance. Images in Instagram Stories appear together in a slideshow format, but you don’t have to worry about turning followers off with overposting—Stories don’t appear on your profile feed (to see Stories, followers tap on your profile photo) and disappear altogether after 24 hours.

Your store can still post permanent photos on Instagram—of products or pointe shoe fittings, say—but Stories throw a greater sense of urgency and immediacy into the mix—for sharing exciting events at the store, for instance. And they provide more context than a single image can.

As with Snapchat Stories, you can experiment with adding captions and filters. Before the 24 hours elapse, you can always download the videos and photos to use again. For more info and tips, see:

Adult punching buttons on credit card readerEMV Chip Card Delays?

Survey shows retailers are willing—but not always able.

The transition to new EMV-capable chip-card readers hasn’t always been smooth—and not through any fault of the retailers, a recent study showed. A year ago liability for fraudulent credit-card transactions shifted to retailers—unless they had new EMV-capable credit-card readers. According to a survey of retailers in May and June 2016 by the National Retail Federation (NRF), almost half had implemented the new EMV chip-and-signature system (EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa) or expected to by the end of June.

But among those who hadn’t done so, it wasn’t for want of trying: 57 percent had already installed the card readers and other equipment but were waiting for certification by the card industry so they could start using the new system. Sixty percent of those had been waiting for six months or more.

During the wait time for certification, the retailers remain responsible for any fraudulent charges. A grocery chain in New York City, for instance, told The New York Times it had thousands of dollars of chargebacks it was now responsible for, even though it had the new chip machines before the deadline. Certification can be complicated, according to the NRF, because it requires verifying that the new technology is working with each of the credit card companies. In June, Visa and MasterCard announced new measures for streamlining the process and limiting losses due to fraudulent charges.

Storeowners: What’s your experience with the EMV transition and chip-card-and-signature technology? Share your experience with us at

Courtesy of Instagram; (2) courtesy of Google; Thinkstock

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