Has Google found a formula for undercutting Amazon’s product search advantage?
Google recently introduced Shopping Actions, a program that enables retailers to list products across Google Search, the Google Express shopping service and the Google Assistant app for smartphones and smart speakers like Google Home.
Mimicking the Amazon.com experience, shoppers browse and buy via a shareable list, universal shopping cart and instant checkout with saved payment credentials that work across Google.com and the Google Assistant.
“For example, shopper Kai can do a search on Google for moisturizing hand soap, see a sponsored listing for up & up brand soap from Target, and add it to a Google Express cart,” wrote Surojit Chatterjee, director of product management, Google Shopping, in a blog entry. “Later, in the kitchen, Kai can reorder foil through voice, add it to the same cart using Google Home, and purchase all items at once through a Google-hosted checkout flow.”
The system’s one-click reordering, personalized recommendations and basket-building is expected to cultivate more frequent shoppers and build loyalty. Early partners, including Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Costco and Ulta Beauty, saw the average size of a customer’s shopping basket increase by 30 percent.
Shopping Actions appears within the sponsored Shopping Unit on the Google Search page and at Google.com/Shopping.
Instead of charging retailers based on click-throughs to their site, Shopping Actions charges on a cost-per-sale model, earning revenue from sales generated from these placements.
Many reports pointed out that providing one-click reordering, voice-enabled shopping enhanced by purchase order history and instant checkout using saved payment credentials will help retailers match Amazon’s proposition. Being able to compete in voice shopping against Echo was seen as particularly important.
In a column for Forbes, Kiri Masters, CEO of Bobsled Marketing and a RetailWire BrainTrust panelist, wrote that Google insists that, “No organic rankings are impacted or changed,” in response to speculation that preferential ranking would be given to these merchants ahead of Amazon.
She adds, “But this is just the latest of Google’s attempts to regain ground from Amazon in consumer product searches.”
- Help shoppers take action, wherever and however they choose to shop – Google
- Exclusive: ‘Where can I buy?’ – Google makes push to turn product searches into cash – Reuters
- Amazon News Digest: Google’s New ‘Shopping Actions’ Take A Swipe At Amazon – Forbes
- Google introduces ‘Shopping Actions’ to help retailers in their battle with Amazon – TechCrunch
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Google’s Shopping Actions help retailers significantly reduce Amazon’s competitive advantage in product search? How would rate the pros and cons for retailers and its appeal to online browsers?