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PMG Digital Made for Humans

What’s New with Google Shopping?

4 MINUTE READ | July 8, 2019

What’s New with Google Shopping?

Back in the 90s, two of the most well-known brands in the world were mere babies. Amazon sold its first book from Jeff Bezos’ Seattle area garage in July of 1995, and just two years later, google.stanford.edu became a registered domain on the interwebs. Over the course of two decades, both entities have played a crucial role in shaping the global economy as it stands today; dominating the tech space and feeding mankind’s innate need for instant gratification. For those who are as obsessed with tech news as we are, it’s starting to feel like a game of cat and mouse, as these two foes are racing to catch up and surpass one another across an array of industries.

Advertising market leader Google is expected to lose 1 point in ad market share for the first time this year, captured by Amazon whose growth is projected to rise 2% YoY, according to an eMarketer report. Ads are not Amazon’s primary profit generation tool, unlike Google, however, analysts predict that this trend will evolve in the future; leaving Google in a position to source out alternative means of revenue generation. As digital marketing continues to outpace the growth in traditional media, Amazon will become more of a threat in the Googlesphere.

To combat this, Google must continue to double down in areas that Amazon has already perfected: provide a seamless, user-centric e-commerce experience by making it easier to shop on Google.

Last month, Google held its annual Google Marketing Live event. Many of the announcements shared were not new in the world of Search Engine Marketing (Gallery Ads, Smart Bidding Updates, etc). However, one evolutionary change, a combative play against Amazon, was the unveiling of the new Google Shopping experience. Framed as an immersive way for shoppers to discover and compare millions of products from thousands of stores, Google has officially joined the e-commerce race. 

New Experience on Google Shopping

Participating retailers on Shopping Actions will now benefit from this exclusive buying experience on the Google Shopping homepage (and former Google Express app). Shopping Actions reporting will be minimal, at best, leaving search marketers questioning how this rollout will affect advertisers who have not opted into the product. An additional note of comparison to the Amazon play: in this is the inherent difference between in-store pickup (handled by the merchant) and Google delivery (handled by Google) versus Amazon’s leg-up in product distribution and shipping centers. Continuing to monitor Google’s adaptation to both the user purchase experience and operational sustainability in this evolving business venture will be key in evaluating success for interested participants.

This new change in Google’s approach on Shopping is also inclusive in its inventory expansion to network sites such as YouTube, Google Image, and Google Discover. Over 40% of global shoppers say they have purchased products they discover on YouTube, making Google expansion plan to include Shoppable TV platform experiences, a seamless and wise decision. This expansion will aim to target audiences across different Google properties in a calculative means based on their search and shopping behavior.  

Google Shopping

Google Shopping Checkout Experience

Google’s ultimate objective to provide a one-stop-shop for the customer purchase journey, starting at product discovery to purchase event, sets them ahead of competition outside of Amazon due to their breadth of user-activity. Users with credit card information saved on Google will instantaneously enjoy the means of check-out in the new shopping experience.  Google aims to improve less familiar brand awareness and trust by utilizing this shopping cart medium through consistent return policies and customer service. In terms of delivery, the Google Express program (which founded the operational means to deliver online purchases on Google’s POS system) partners with brick-and-mortar retailers to leverage their store inventory in order to hyper-localize their targeted delivery method in order to meet delivery times.

Ultimate POV: There is a lot of work ahead for Google but the work is well worth it. Providing seamless means of delivery and ultimate client satisfaction in a localized manner is no easy task. Mass distribution centers and the tech that powers them are what makes Amazon the beast of a company it is today. There are many issues in the current state of store-based inventory signals available to Google, which is reliant on their retail clients to provide, that oftentimes lead to dissatisfied clientele.

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Amazon, on the other hand, set up their business model to be self-reliant, in a way, by having partners ultimately utilize their distribution services in order to participate and benefit from the platform itself. Customers seek a frictionless buying experience. Controlling the experience means controlling shipping, returning, and ultimate customer satisfaction. Mastering this element is crucial in order to continue surviving in the Information Age.


Posted by Melissa Lackey

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