River Island
River Island

River Island has become the first UK fashion retailer to use Google’s Local Inventory Ads (LIAs) in an effort to bridge its on and offline presence.

Based on location technology in a user’s mobile device, the LIA will display River Island products directly to shoppers searching for relevant items nearby. For instance, and as per the image below, if the user is on the hunt for a black dress or a bomber jacket in their standard Google search, it will surface River Island product first and foremost (listed as sponsored and also including a map on the ‘shopping’ search page, as well as distance to that particular store).

To achieve that, a retailer must provide a well-organised inventory of product and have set a high enough bid within the Google system. Clicking on the ad for the user will then take them to a Google ‘Local Storefront’ page, where they are provided with further information on the product, retailer, price, nearby location, opening hours and a link to purchase online if applicable.

River Island's Google Local Inventory Ads
River Island’s Google Local Inventory Ads

In searching for the most seamless shopping experience for its consumer, River Island elected to only feature products available both in store and online in the ads. To do so, the company solicited the collaborative efforts of its retail, digital marketing and IT departments, along with the help of inventory feed provider Intelligent Reach for a unity of product offerings.

The project has proven successful thus far, with sales numbers climbing accordingly: 6% of clicks on the mobile-based LIAs resulted in a store visit, an increase of 17% compared to standard shopping campaigns. When looking at return on investment, the numbers were equally compelling with a 15% rise in return-on-ad-spend and a 33% increase in total sales (both on and offline).

Josie Cartridge, customer director at River Island, said: “We’re pleased with the results of our LIA activity so far and it’s good to see targeted mobile activity driving sales in-store as well as online. Mobile offers us lots of opportunity to enhance the shopping experience through location technology and stock information and we’re excited to keep working with Google and developing in this area.”

In an effort to keep the growth consistent, River Island plans to invest further into its LIA strategy. The retailer has expressed interest in using in-store beacons to collect even more accurate store visit data which can be applied towards its LIA automated bidding strategy.

It also recently launched its Christmas campaign starring Caroline Vreeland and Shea Marie of Peace Loves Shea as they get ready for a festive night out. You can also check out the rest of this year’s seasonal films, here.