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Google launches tool to help retailers track product popularity

Google launches tool to help retailers track product popularity
Google's new Shopping Insights tool shows retailers valuable information about what shoppers are searching for, and from where. (Google)

Google has launched Shopping Insights, a tool that lets retailers see product search trends across the U.S.

By harnessing its massive trove of shopping intent data -- or information that shows what kinds of products consumers have researched, and from where -- Google hopes retailers will be able to better plan marketing strategies and where to stock merchandise at bricks-and-mortar stores.

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For example, the tool shows that since April 2014, interest is significantly higher for Sony's PS4 video game console than it is for Microsoft's Xbox One in Los Angeles; in Seattle, however, the Xbox One wins out.

When it comes to Halloween, search interest for Minions costumes was initially greater than for Star Wars costumes, with search interest 2.5 times higher in July. But after the August release of new footage for the next "Star Wars" movie, search interest for Star Wars costumes briefly overtook Minions costumes.

In announcing the tool Tuesday at WSJD Live, Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google's senior vice president of ads and commerce, said the company wanted to make data about shopping habits and preferences more accessible.

The search giant noted that although 87% of shopping research happens online, 92% of goods are still sold in physical retail stores.

Shopping Insights estimates popularity and trends for a product by aggregating keyword data from the millions of searches consumers are doing to shop for that item. Retailers will be able to see data for every city available for targeting in AdWords, and compare mobile to desktop patterns.

Here's a demo of how the product works.

Twitter: @byandreachang

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