Argos first to test Google’s localised online ads that only show if the product is in-stock

Argos has teamed up with Google to test out an online ad format that ensures it’s marketing spend isn’t used to promote products that aren’t available.

The new Google product is been called ‘Local Inventory Ads’ – developed alongside online retail consultants Summit – and requires a retailer to feed all of their stock level data into the platform.

When a customer searches for a particular product then ads will appear at the top of the page promoting Argos as a retailer if it has the product in stock in the nearest store. If the item isn’t in stock then then the ads simply don’t show.

The stock information is updated every two-seconds to ensure accuracy.

“We are able to focus our digital marketing spend on products that we know are immediately available in our customers’ local stores,” said Matt Roberts, digital marketing controller at Argos.

The format is being used to try and drive footfall into local stores as people go in to collect items. Argos is able to then upsell, one of the well-documented benefits of the click-and-collect model.

“Connecting digital customers to store allows them to get hold of those products immediately and also works in harmony with our new Fast Track collection offer, where those who have pre-paid online can get their purchase in their hands in as little as 60 second,” added Roberts.

“It also allows us to capitalise on strong in-store conversion and cross-sell other products that they may see while in store. Core to the Argos model is our real-time view of stock and using that as part of our mission to be at the forefront of digital is key to our success.”

The tests began last month across over 850 stores.