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Google Giving AVB/BrandSource A Local Shopping Boost

AVB/BrandSource is flexing its same-day/next-day delivery muscles through a new venture with Google and in cooperation with the buying group’s top vendors.

Under the plan, which is exclusive to BrandSource within the appliance, furniture and CE retail sales channels, vendors will provide select SKUs to member dealers for rush delivery, which Google will tout through prominent placements within the Shop on Google ad box that appears on search pages.

BrandSource CEO Jim Ristow said the program has just launched in pilot mode with a select group of members and a deep selection of same-day/next-day laundry products from a major vendor partner. The trial dealers had to meet certain stocking and volume parameters to participate, although the plan calls for an eventual rollout to all BrandSource members and a controlled expansion into additional categories and brands after Jan. 1.

Ristow said the initiative will provide a competitive advantage that can blunt any large-item inroads by Amazon, and level the playing field with box stores, which can take anywhere from four  to 11 days to make a delivery.

“We’re maximizing independent dealers’ greatest asset – their delivery network,” he told TWICE.

Moreover, as Google agency development manager and BrandSource liaison Andrew Leonard told dealers at the group’s Summit meeting in August, 75 percent of local searches result in a store visit within 24 hours, and over 25 percent result in purchases.

BrandSource chief marketing officer John White said Google has assigned a dedicated team to the project, and attributed the special attention in part to the Google Premier Partner status of the group’s in-house digital advertising team – a rarefied designation that’s limited to 2 percent of the world’s marketing and ad agencies.

Related:AVB’s New Digital Imperative

Google’s Amazon counteroffensive has also extended to large retailers like Walmart, Target, Costco and Walgreens through its Google Express shopping app and virtual digital assistant, which allow customers to shop and buy products by phone, website or voice.

To mark the launch of the latest partnership, participating BrandSource Power Dealers and vendors met this week with Google staff at the company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters in Silicon Valley.

“We’re seeing huge spikes in local-intent traffic,” Leonard told attendees. “People still like to shop local; you just need to drive them to your stores.”