Google last year quietly began piloting a Google Trusted Stores program whereby Google awards a badge to websites with a strong history of reliable shipping and top-notch customer service. Now, it's reportedly exploring whether Trusted Stores endorsements work within paid search ads.
Under the Trusted Stores program, e-tailers participating in the program voluntarily share data about shipments and enable Google to collect customer service metrics when shoppers seek Google's help with a problem.
Participating e-retailers can include Google's grades as endorsements on their web pages. Visitors hovering over the Google Trusted Store badge see metrics on the store's shipping and customer service performance.
A unique feature is that consumers can select free purchase protection from Google when shopping at a Google Trusted Store. If a problem arises, they can ask Google to work with the merchant and customer to resolve the issue.
In launching the pilot last October, Google said the service is designed to overcome concerns about purchasing from unfamiliar online stores. Google stated, "Is this store trustworthy? How reliable is their shipping? Do they have good customer service? What happens if something goes wrong?"
In an interview with Internet Retailer, Tom Fallows, group product manager on Google's commerce team, said a couple of hundred retailers take part in Trusted Stores. They include Overstock.com, Wayfair.com and many smaller websites. Some retailers aren't featuring the badge as part of a pilot test.
Overall, Mr. Fallows gave little information around the larger rollout potential and learnings from the test although he added, "It's been well received in terms of the key metrics we look at — conversion rates, for instance."
The next test will extend Trusted Stores to web searches. Mr. Fallows tells Internet Retailer that 'Google Trusted Stores' branding might appear below the main link for a retailer or a key metric from a Trusted Stores badge ("99 percent of issues resolved in under two days") might appear.
How beneficial is a service such as Google Trusted Store for retailers?