Last-Minute Father's Day Strategies for Google-Minded Merchants

Dads may typically be easy to shop for, but those doing the purchasing might be a bit pickier. This Father's Day, shoppers are looking to get more bang for their buck. They also want to access product and business information seamlessly across channels.     

The good news is that the National Retail Federation's 2013 Father's Day spending survey conducted by BIGinsight indicates that the average person is increasing their spend on dad's gift ($119.84 up from $117.14 last year). The bad news, for those merchants not on their mobile game, is that they also expect their shopping experience to be supported on their phones or tablets. Two in five of those who own a tablet plan to use their tablet to make a Father's Day purchase, while more than half (51.1 percent) of tablet owners will use their device to research products and compare prices, redeem coupons and look up retailers' information such as store hours and location. Additionally, four in 10 of smartphone owners will use their mobile device to research gift ideas, compare prices and look up store information.

Regardless of mobile presence (or lack of one), here are four last-minute tips that Google-minded merchants can do between now and Sunday to optimize the Father's Day shopping experience for their customers (across channels) and increase foot and virtual traffic. 

1. Be Friends with Google+

Merchants with brick-and-mortar locations really have the upper hand the week before gift-giving holidays, because many shoppers - even those who regularly purchase online - are hesitant to trust that shipments will arrive on time. Local retailers should ensure that their address, hours and contact information are correct on their website, Facebook Page, Yelp profile and, especially, Google+ account. Proline Golf (pictured below), for example, has a complete Google+ profile, including its address, phone number, category, images and the highest reviews of the results, making it findable by consumers in a gift-buying pinch. 

2. Use Ad Extensions

Online and offline retailers looking to increase sales for Father's Day 2013 (and beyond) should high tail it to their AdWords account to leverage the power of Google Ad extensions. This extra info gives potential customers more reasons to click on paid search ads, resulting in increased click-throughs, conversions and brand awareness. Check out Website Magazine's "Common Google Ad Extensions for Ecommerce Merchants," which details six extensions to incorporate today. For example, the offer extension can help retailers promote in-store coupons in their online ads, a perfect recipe for Father's Day success, while the call extension is a seamless way to connect mobile users to a business with gift offerings, like Golfsmith below. 

3. Make Shipping Guarantees

Merchants who are positive they can get a product to a consumer by Father's Day shouldn't just say it, they should spray it - all over the place (e.g. social media, paid search ads, splash pages, interstitials, etc.). They should also make shipping guarantees, like does here:

4. Provide Inbox Actions

Regardless of the popularity and impact of social media (even you Google+), email is still a very important channel when it comes to connecting with consumers. And, just in time for Father's Day, Google announced its quick action buttons in Gmail, which enable marketers to reach customers without them evening opening emails.

"These buttons appear next to certain types of messages in your inbox and let you take action on an email without ever having to open it. For example, you can RSVP to your friend's party invitation or rate that restaurant you went to last night all right from the inbox," wrote Google Product Manager Shalini Agarwal. 

Merchants should only use this tools when high-interaction rates are expected (e.g. leave reviews, make reservations or retrieve promo codes). Learn how to add Google's quick action buttons