The newest version of the Google Shopping platform is going to be a real eCommerce game-changer, just in time for the 2019 holiday shopping season.
The company has been building out its Shopping features for several years, as it seeks to compete in the same space with the likes of Amazon and AliBaba by converting search results into de facto marketplaces where you can instantly buy the stuff you find in a general search, with one click.
This is a major departure from Google’s traditional–though still significant–revenue model that relies heavily on advertising in all its various forms. But that is no longer the only place where Google can capture a piece of the eCommerce business.
All the ways users can now go Google Shopping
The profit for Google with Shopping is realized through commissions and transaction fees on sales of products surfaced at all the various Google Shopping entry points: Search, Images, Shopping Tab and Homepage, the Shopping App, and the Google Assistant’s voice-activated commands.
Many of these features are new in this latest rollout. It follows a couple of years of rigorous testing and analysis with a more limited set of partners, mostly major brands or giant retailers like Walmart and Target. In early September 2019, Google opened the Shopping portal to anyone else engaged in eCommerce with the capacity to sell in volume and able to meet its participation requirements.
An overview of the new Google Shopping experience
A personalized homepage and browsing suggestions
Users will see recently viewed products and recommendations based on their Google activity. It’s a lot like automatic retargeting, except that, unlike an ad, merchants don’t have to pay for it until a sale is made through the Shopping checkout.
The Google Shopping cart icon has a new look, with a new label that will appear on all Product Display Pages:
Users will see a “worry-free” Google backed guarantee on purchases when they are viewing a product they’ve just discovered.
Frictionless shopping with universal shopping cart and one-click checkout
Google Express checkout, with all of its saved Google user and payment information for one-click checkout, is now fully integrated into the new Shopping experience. The “Express” name has been retired.
But here’s another game-changer: any Google user and payment information they had already collected will be automatically applied going forward.
This eliminates one of the major frictions of online purchasing. Buyers without a preexisting Google user account will still need to do an initial setup so their info can be stored for future transactions. But whenever anyone with a preexisting Google payment account associated with their User ID finds a participating product, they’ll never need to enter their user info even once, because Google already has it prepopulated on the checkout page the first time they use the service.
And, the universal shopping cart collects multiple products from multiple vendors, in a single payment transaction processed by Google.
The company takes its commissions, then transfers the proceeds to the various merchants’ accounts.
A simplified user experience
Google Shopping now features richer PDPs. And its comprehensive search results display both ads and the new ‘Buy on Google’ logo with a popup CTA about the company’s trustworthiness.
Shopping through YouTube is still in the Pilot phase. Given the growing popularity of Pinterest’s Buyable Pins and Instagram’s Checkout, Google sees the possibilities presented by surfacing products for sale through visual social media.
Some compelling reasons to get with the program
Together with the debut of its enhanced Shopping environment, Google published some compelling statistics about online shopping trends in a recap of last year’s holiday shopping season:
- More than half the time (56%) and money (53%) spent on holiday shopping was spent online, to the tune of $853B.
At the same time, consumer expectations have skyrocketed:
- There have been 3-fold increases in “Open now” and “near me” searches.
- 59% of shoppers expect shipping and billing information to be remembered.
- 58% actually want to see promotions based on their purchase history.
As merchants become more aware of the program and the exponential possibilities for scaling up their sales efforts, we can expect to see Google hitting a home run yet again.
Shopping Feed is a certified Partner in Google’s Shopping platform, as well as in every major online marketplace worldwide.
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