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Online retail has become more robust and predominate over the past year. Some of the underlying trends and drivers were examined this morning on the panel, “Search for it! Local Online Retail Innovation.

One of the most compelling recent developments in retail has been the show-rooming phenomenon that has turned the the old shop online, purchase offline paradigm on its ear. Now, consumers are walking into Best Buy and using their smart phone to figure out if they can get the same device online for less money.

According to Matt Archer, senior director at comscore, 37 percent of consumers say they have engaged in show-rooming, and 72 percent doing so to find a better price online.

Paul Wicker from Kenshoo Local talked about an innovation relevant to retail — the emergence of Google Product Listing Ad, which are overtaking text ads because of their ability to enable commerce.

The PLAs don’t come from ad words directly, more of a blend, according to Wicker.

Big retailers manage a big feed, sending it to a lot of places. This inevitably ends up in the Google merchant center. You can now connect merchant center with ad words, and create Product Listing Ads. Archer says that today, the PLAs are significantly outperforming text ads.

One interesting question was whether there is a service listing ad? The sense was the fit wasn’t as natural, since the whole idea is facilitating transactions online, not a strong suit for service businesses.

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