The upcoming festive season is one of the most critical times for businesses throughout the year, as it is a golden opportunity to boost their sales with Christmas purchases. For small or local businesses, it is an especially good opportunity to gain more traffic to their stores. Even according to a Google survey, about 60% of Americans plan to do their Christmas shopping at local businesses. A response to the visibility campaigns of the last year by small businesses, as part of the post-pandemic recovery process.

Similarly, to support this situation, the internet giant has prepared a series of updates for its platform, focused on facilitating processes for small businesses, and enhancing both their accessibility and visibility on the web for this Christmas.

Google will facilitate requests and verifications of professional profiles

As a first update in this regard, Google will update the application and verification process for professional profiles on its platform in the coming days, which will be more comfortable and easier to manage. This thanks to the fact that it can be done directly through the Google search engine or the Maps application.In this way, it will only be necessary to search the name of the business in Google, which will result in the option to request or review the profile of business associated with that name.

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Once this is done, any type of information (address, schedules, photos, etc.) can be modified in the same way. Additionally, merchants will also be able to send messages to consumers directly from the Google search platform.

As Google itself explains:

“Another valuable way for consumers to engage with merchants is by chatting with them. More and more people are turning to chat conversations with merchants of all sizes, from small businesses to global merchants like Levi’s. With business messaging, Levi’s was able to resolve 30 times more store-related questions and saw a 31% increase in product-related conversations. Merchants tell us they want to improve their interactions with customers, so we announced some new features to help them do that.

Last year, we added functionality so you can chat with customers directly on Google Maps. Now, you can also view and reply to messages directly from your business profile on Google Search. It is also useful to know that the recipient received your message in the chat. With read receipts, both parties know if their messages were viewed. This feature will be released for all Business Profile merchants this month, further enriching the chat experience for customers and businesses.

Additionally, merchants in Canada and the United States will be able to validate their call history to confirm which calls were made from their business profile.

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These changes augur a new way to access and manage Google My Business Updates, which the company has confirmed indicating that it will disappear next year, ending one of the company’s oldest brands, launched in 2014.

“From now on, we recommend that small businesses manage their profiles directly in Search or Maps. To keep things simple, “Google My Business” will be renamed “Google Business Profile” . And in 2022, we’ll retire the Google My Business app so more merchants can take advantage of the improved Search and Maps experience. The current Google My Business web experience will be transitioned to primarily supporting larger companies with multiple locations, and will be renamed “Business Profile Manager.”

What’s new only available in the United States and Canada (for now)

In the holiday season there are generally two types of purchases: planned and last minute. To cover the first of these, consumers usually make a check of the catalogs and the availability of the products, before approaching to make the purchase. To help sellers in this regard, the company recently announced the addition of a new search filter for available items. E ste specifically shows nearby stores with product availability, facilitating the search for users and boosting business visibility.

To facilitate the loading process for sellers in Canada and the United States, they can also access the Pointy tool for free and from the search. This allows you to automatically upload all the business inventory to your business profile on the platform, just by connecting to your POS. Likewise, if you already have a local inventory, it is possible to load it through Google Merchant Center. And, in the case of wanting to publicize a particular product, this can be incorporated without problems through the new Google Business Profile.

Local Campaigns, a function to promote physical stores

Finally, part of the recovery of the economy is to return a little to the normality of the shopping experience, which is usually a characteristic factor of local businesses. For this reason, Google brings up local campaigns or Local Campaigns. These allow to promote products in the store or seasonal, through the promotion of the location of the premises and the maximization of the value of the store. In this way, using continuous learning technology and relevant business information, Google can more efficiently manage ad bids to attract more customers, whether on YouTube, Maps or other company products.

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There is also a greater facility to manage these campaigns with the implementation of the Performance Planning tool or Performance Planner. With this tool, the process of creating strategies for the implementation of these campaigns will be easier. Since it will allow to define the possible results, thus generating a better decision-making on budgets.

Along with all the above, it also has a new feature, which invites sellers to try. Performance Max campaigns, as the feature is called, enables you to drive business across all Google Ads channels simultaneously, driving exponentially more traffic to locals.