We’re used to thinking about Google as a search engine. And of course, we also think of Google for products such as Google Apps for Work, and the AdWords advertising platform.
But when was the last time you thought of Google as a source of shopper insights and behaviors? And as a resource to help you sell more?
These insights from Google are the subject of an interview I conducted recently with Sebastien Missoffe, Director of SMB Sales at Google.
He says there’s a wealth of information you can learn from Google tools (free ones, at that).
Beyond the tools, there are some key trends about how shopping behavior has changed in recent years. Understanding and leveraging these trends is one key to more successful selling in a small business.
According to Missoffe, it’s important to think about the Web as a place where shopping never sleeps.
Missoffe, who’s been with Google nine years and was with L’Oreal before that, says that shoppers are savvier and more informed today. They are also more connected online than ever before. “Shopping just doesn’t stop once the shops are closed,” Missoffe said.
“One thing we are seeing is that one third of all the searches related to shopping happen between 10 pm and 4 am,” said Missoffe.
And night owls are not just window shopping. People are buying in the middle of the night, too. “Roughly one in seven orders happens between 10 pm and 4 am,” he added.
People are also shopping well past Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The image above (from a Google Holiday Shopper Research study) shows which days were peak shopping days last year. The days in red saw the most shopping online. The days in green saw the most shopping in store premises.
Use Google Trends to Identify What Shoppers Want
Google Trends is a free service and “hidden gem” for small business sellers, says Missoffe. “Whenever we bring it to the attention of small business sellers, the first question is ‘are you sure it’s free?’,” he added.
What you can do with Google Trends is, first, search for your brand name and product names to see when and where people are searching.
Even if your brand is not yet well-known enough to show up in Google Trends, Missoffe suggests looking for the search terms relevant to your business. You can see which terms, including related terms, shoppers are searching for, what country or region they are from, what days they search, and other insights. Learning that can tell you what kinds of search terms to use in your website copy, in your AdWords ads, in email messages, and other selling activities.