Many ecommerce and online buying experiences kick off with a search. And, with 3.5 billion Google searches happening per day, Google is at the center of the ecommerce ecosystem and creating opportunities for brands and consumers to align for seamless search and purchasing experiences. “[At] Google, we’re working on more ways to bridge the connection between retailers and consumers, so that retailers can build direct and lasting relationships with their customers,” explains Bill Ready, President of Commerce, Payments & Next Billion Users (NBU) at Google, in a May blog post about a suite of ecommerce solutions Google is introducing or expanding in the coming months.
Why Is Google Introducing A New Suite Of Ecommerce Tools?
“There are now over one billion shopping sessions happening across Google every day. More consumers are shopping online than ever before, and they’re meeting a brand-new generation of digital-first retailers, each with their own unique products, stories and values to share,” said Ready, introducing Google’s new suite of Google ecommerce tools. Google wants to be at the apex of consumer and brand experiences across search and ecommerce, staying ahead of, or in sync with, social commerce and other online shopping trends and channels. And, Andrew Hutchinson of Social Media Today notes, Google wants to “facilitate expanded user interest in online shopping, and changing search behaviors around product listings within its [Google] products.”
What Ecommerce Updates And Tools Does The Google Ecommerce Suite Include?
Google explains “We’re reimagining entirely new ways to help you connect with your customer at decision making points in the journey — across search, shopping, images, maps and YouTube.” The new or expanded ecommerce suite from Google, explained below, includes a variety of opportunities for ecommerce retailers to optimize their search campaigns as they connect with shoppers.
More Third-Party Partners For Easier Brand Integration
After recently announcing an integration with ecommerce platform Shopify, Google touted the addition of more third-party partners, including WooCommerce, GoDaddy and Square, that will soon be a part of the Google ecommerce suite, offering free shopping integrations and more consumer awareness for brands.
AR Features For ‘Hands-On’ Shopping Experiences
AR (augmented reality) experiences have recently been introduced or expanded by many social media platforms, including Pinterest and Snapchat, as consumers increasingly turn to social commerce for making purchases and “trying on” items when shopping. Earlier this year Google introduced an “AR makeup kit try-on experience for lipstick and eyeshadow,” which it is expanding to include foundation from partners including L'Oreal and Estee Lauder. In addition, Google will be launching an AR apparel experience.
A ‘Deals Results Page’ That Helps Consumers Find Discounts
Most shoppers like deals, and for digital advertisers, online promotions can be powerful in driving traffic and conversions. For this reason, Google is introducing a “deals results page” on its search and shopping tabs. The Google deals results page leverages the recent uptick (50%) in searches for “discount code” and makes it easier for consumers to find promotions. The new deals feature will roll out in time for the holidays, and Google said, “new real-time, deal optimization reporting is also coming to Merchant Center.”
Identity Attributes That Let Consumers Shop Their Values
A major theme over the last year among consumers, particularly in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, is an interest in shopping with brands who share similar values. In response, Google is launching more identity attributes in the coming year, including a “women-led attribute.” The launch of Google’s Black-owned business attribute earlier this year was successful. The choice to add the attribute is up to the business owners and is available to all U.S. Google merchants. The attribute appears with the item description (see image) when selected by a user in the shopping tab.
Delivery Filters Extended To YouTube And Google Maps, Offering More Ways To Pay And Integrate Loyalty Accounts
In the fall, Google added several “nearby product” features, capitalizing on the interest of consumers to buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS) or at least easily know their delivery and pick-up options. Google announced that, as a part of the Google ecommerce suite updates, these delivery features will also be added to YouTube and maps local ads.
In addition, Google is adding a “new free experience” that shows consumers all the ways they can buy a product they’ve searched for. “Whether it’s [a brand’s] ecommerce site, nearby store or Google’s native checkout flow, this new cohesive format will make shopping easier for customers who expect convenience, and help [brands] neatly showcase [their] expanded omni-channel offerings.” Google also plans to “enable Shop Pay as a buying option.” Shop Pay “is an accelerated checkout that lets customers save their email address, credit card, and shipping and billing information so that they can complete their transaction faster.”
For some searched-for items, consumers will also be able to see associated discounts and features of having a loyalty membership with a displayed brand. The loyalty or member benefits, such as free shipping, will appear with the listing, above the pricing. For example, Sephora’s Beauty Insider program offers discounts to members, which will appear with product listings. Consumers who are already loyalty members can either sync their existing memberships with their Google accounts or initiate memberships and take advantage of the advertised deals when applicable.
How Does The Google Ecommerce Suite Benefit Digital Advertisers?
The more brands are able to create seamless ecommerce solutions when consumers are searching, the more likely brands are to connect with consumers and drive conversions. As the Google ecommerce suite updates roll out, retailers will want to make sure all their merchant information is up to date and accurate to gain full advantage of these new features. Google doesn’t say exactly where they will be gathering all of the merchant data for these new updates, but the merchant center business profiles are, likely, a good place for brands to get ready for the upcoming optimizations.
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