With Black Friday (opens in new tab) just around the corner, Google has announced a number of updates aimed at making the holiday shopping season (opens in new tab) easier for small businesses.
The biggest change is that the search giant will rename “Google My Business” as “Google Business Profile” before retiring the Google My Business (opens in new tab) apps for Android and iOS next year. Going forward, the existing Google My Business web experience will be renamed “Business Profile Manager” and will transition to primarily supporting larger businesses with multiple locations.
Small businesses meanwhile will now be able to claim and verify their Business Profile directly on Google Search (opens in new tab) or the Google Maps (opens in new tab) app. By searching for your business by name, small business owners will see an option to claim and verify the associated Business Profile. Once this done, they'll be able to edit their business' information including the address, store hours, photos and more.
As more consumers now look for and interact with businesses using both Google Search and Maps, Google has also added a new “in stock (opens in new tab)” filter in its search engine so that shoppers can see if nearby stores have a specific item. Retailers in the US and Canada can sign up for Pointly from Google for free from their Business Profile to automatically upload their in-store product inventory by connecting the service directly with their existing POS system (opens in new tab).
Customer messaging and calls
To help small businesses more easily interact with customers on Google Search and Maps, Google is launching a new feature called call history for merchants in the US and Canada with verified Business Profiles.
With call history, business owners can see which inbound customer calls came from their Business Profile and review helpful analytics (opens in new tab) on inbound call performance.
After adding the ability to chat with customers directly on Google Maps (opens in new tab) last year, Google will now allow business owners to see and respond to messages right from their Business Profile on Google Search. The company is also adding read receipts this month so that both business owners and customers can know whether their messages have been seen.
Merchants and business owners can prepare for the busy holiday season by claiming and verifying their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps which will allow them to more easily interact with both existing and potential customers online.
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