Will visual search bring eyeballs to Google Shopping?

Discussion
Sources: Google
Oct 14, 2021

Google is updating the look and format of product search pages so that feature images better resemble a digital store rather than a long list of links and text.

One method involves the use of Google Lens, an image recognition technology that lets a smartphone camera conduct digital searches by identifying real objects. The “search images” button on the Google app makes all the images on a page searchable through Google Lens, providing information on those products as well as views of similar products.

In a blog entry, Bill Ready, president of commerce, payments & NBU at Google, said, “Whether it’s an image that you see online, a photo you saved on your phone  or something in the real world that catches your eye, Google Lens makes the products you see instantly shoppable.”

Google Lens will soon be extended to Chrome on desktops to provide product search results for website images, video and text.

A second method (demonstrated in the video below) enables visual searches directly from mobile search. A search for “cropped jackets,” for example, shows a visual feed of jackets in various colors and styles, alongside other information like local shops, style guides and videos. Users can filter the search down to style, department and brand and access ratings, reviews and price comparisons.

Wrote Bill Ready in his blog article, “This new experience is powered by Google’s Shopping Graph, a comprehensive, real-time dataset of products, inventory and merchants with more than 24 billion listings. This not only helps us connect shoppers with the right products for them, it also helps millions of merchants and brands get discovered on Google every day.”

Google has overhauled its shopping search over the last year as Amazon has surpassed the company as the leader in first product search and lately has also taken share in digital advertising. Google’s changes include no longer requiring merchants to advertise to have their products listed in shopping searches as well as eliminating commission fees. Another newer update has been adding in-store inventory checks to product search.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is adding images to Google Shopping search a game changer? What’s your SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of Google as a shopping platform?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"The real-time inventory information will be key to keeping shoppers happy in the face of all the supply chain challenges the industry is facing."
"My favorite part of the changes is the new update that has been adding in-store inventory checks to product search."
"Adding images to Google Shopping is an overdue move rather than a game changer."

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8 Comments on "Will visual search bring eyeballs to Google Shopping?"


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Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

Visual search aligns with how consumers want to shop. We’ve gotten extremely specific with what we’re looking for when shopping, so this is a modern capability to meet the times. Google is becoming more and more competitive in the shopping space, but they really should have been the most formidable opponent from the start considering what they do.

The real-time inventory information will be key to keeping shoppers happy in the face of all the supply chain challenges the industry is facing.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

I’m not sure if you can refer to anything that increases Google’s share of the search market as a “game changer.” This is more of a game changer for retailers and influencers. It connects seeing, wanting, and buying in a direct line. Google has the eyeballs to be a serious threat to Amazon. Many people think visually and this technique is a big strength. The weakness and threat is that it is easily copied by Amazon but the opportunity to provide an open platform and steal market share from Amazon makes this a winner.

Christine Russo
BrainTrust

My favorite part of the changes is the new update that has been adding in-store inventory checks to product search. This allow customers to digitally recognize brick-and-mortar availability of all sizes.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

I reviewed this article/video in a Starbucks sitting next to five women. They asked me to play it again for them. They loved it and walked out the door talking about it. Nothing else to say.

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

Adding images to Google Shopping is an overdue move rather than a game changer. Over the past five years, AI-driven visual search has emerged as an effective, evocative sales tool that fuels e-commerce growth. Getting products “in our face” will help Google sell them faster.

Here is a SWOT (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats) analysis of Google as a shopping platform:

Strengths:

  • Trusted, pervasive brand;
  • Partnership with Shopify expands Google’s online shopping reach;
  • Rich data insights track consumer behavior shifts;
  • Deep pockets.

Weaknesses:

  • Not top-of-mind in retail;
  • Lost ground to Amazon as the destination for consumers’ product searches;

Opportunities:

  • Global e-commerce boom fuels demand for reliable online product searches;
  • Strategic partnerships to boost retail power (already collaborated with Walmart, Target);
  • Digital ad bonanza.

Threats:

  • Fierce competition in retail and tech for market share;
  • Fellow data-savvy tech giants (Amazon, Instagram) gained influence for retail search.
Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

And let’s face it … the strengths truly outweigh the weaknesses and threats here. This is a good move for Google and can’t hurt to expand into visual shopping, tapping into the way the customer wants to shop for product.

On point as always Lisa!

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

It may not be a game changer but it certainly is an important improvement. Many people shop visually and more images cannot hurt Google.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

Inventory accuracy is such a pain point for retailers and those pain points directly impact the customer experience. If Google can change the game in inventory management and give customers a great shopping experience, then I am all for it.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The real-time inventory information will be key to keeping shoppers happy in the face of all the supply chain challenges the industry is facing."
"My favorite part of the changes is the new update that has been adding in-store inventory checks to product search."
"Adding images to Google Shopping is an overdue move rather than a game changer."

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