What Is Google Offers?

Google Offers is a new form of incentive-based online advertising

Google Offers is the latest marketing tool from Google which sees closer merging of the relationship between offline and online marketing efforts. It is essentially a new form of incentive-based advertising which is aimed at generating more local customers. An Offer incorporates a heading, images, a Google Places listing with your location and a description of the offer and your business.

Through the new advertising platform registered Google Offers subscribers will receive e-mails from Google on daily offers from businesses in their locality and if they chose to take up the offer, they pay directly to Google through their credit card, receiving a voucher in exchange for payment. This voucher can then be redeemed at the outlet that offered the deal or package through Google Offers. After the transaction has been fulfilled, Google makes payment to the respective business with the majority of payments expected to be processed within four working days.

The purchased Google Offer is received by the purchaser in a confirmation e-mail from Google Checkout containing a voucher (with a barcode or redemption code) which can be printed or redeemed in-store through a smartphone. Unlike its sister product Google Wallet, at present Google offers is not downloadable as a smartphone application. Currently, transactions on Google Offers can be processed through American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Discover.

Google Offers is currently being trialed in Portland, Oregon in the US with further cities including New York, San Francisco and Oakland set to be added to Google Offers in the near future. As yet no firm date has been specified for when Google Offers will be available in Australia.

What does Google Offers do for your business?

Google Offers is focused on getting more customers to your business, so you can focus on the other things you have to do. An Offer page includes images of the restaurant or store, a map listing for your location (through Google Places). Offers can be customised to suit your business based on participating stores, redemption period etc. so it offers flexibility for larger businesses.

From a business perspective, Google Offers is another local sales channel for your business where the cost of acquiring a customer is potentially a lot lower than offline and other advertising techniques as your ad is targeted to people in your locality.

Business owners can cap the availability of the offer to a set number of customers and set an expiry period for redeeming the offer, which can have a threefold positive effect on sales: (i) enticing prospective customers to act; (ii) limiting the availability of a discount to suit stock levels or other resources and (iii) exposing your business to a wider audience in your hometown.

From a cost perspective, Google Offers also works in favour of business owners as the cost and time taken to process the transaction is eliminated, facilitating faster transactions and reducing the size of queues waiting to be served in your shop, restaurant or other outlet. Customers prepay for the deal they sign up to, so the transaction time is inevitably going to be less.

Can any business sign up for Google Offers?

Not all businesses will be eligible to participate in Google Offers. For example, businesses selling weapons, gambling products, items that run contrary to copyright laws, adult goods, medicines and other illicit materials will not even be considered by Google for the Google Offers program.

For modern businesses, Google Offers is another cost-effective tool for generating sales. Google Offers brings E-Commerce to businesses that may not otherwise engage in E-Commerce such as restaurants and retail outlets and unlike other online marketing efforts, the sale is completed instantly which has obvious advantages. There may be issues around returns or refunds but Google has a comprehensive guide on Google Offers at www.google.com/offers/business.

What Will Google Offers cost Australian businesses?

Google currently charges a percentage-per-transaction (between 1.9% and 2.9%) plus 30 cents per transaction and an additional fee for international transactions through Google Checkout so expect something a considerably more expensive through Google Offers given their additional input in Offers set-up. Market leaders Groupon (a company Google recently failed to purchase in a buy-out attempt) are known to charge upwards of 20% per transaction but Google’s global scale and network is likely to make Offers a more reasonable prospect for business owners.

As it evolves Google Offers, along with Google Wallet, is likely to have a major impact on how transactions are carried out. This is especially significant in a country like Australia where over half of internet users access the internet through their mobile phones.

Like any new initiative in online marketing, Google Offers shouldn’t be taken in isolation but as part of a comprehensive search marketing strategy encompassing Google AdWords, Google Optimization and social media optimisation. For more on a comprehensive marketing strategy for your business, call roi.com.au today on 1300 650 274.

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