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Search and Destroy: Google to Step Into Amazon’s Arena with Google Buy

Sometimes it’s hard to remember life before the answer to any question we didn’t know was “Hold on, I’ll just Google it.” For the last ten years, the search engine has not only solidified its place as the internet’s go-to destination for the most relevant information on any query, but has also expanded its offerings in everything from music and movies to paid advertising and analytics. Basically, Google does it all, with only one caveat:  although shoppers can view retailer product advertisements along with their search results, they have never had the option to actually buy products without first being redirected to the retailer’s site. In other words, Google has avoided becoming an online marketplace. Not a company to sit around and let grass grow under their feet, however, the search mogul has recently decided to throw caution to the wind and get in the game with the Google Buy button.
How? Initially available only on the mobile platform, the Google Buy button will be part of the Product Listing Ads that retailers are already using. Shoppers who click on the button are taken to a mobile friendly landing page that offers detailed product information, allows the shopper to select product options, and check out – all through Google. Furthermore, Google will store the shopper’s payment information, making further purchases a snap. Retailers never process or even see payment information.
Why? Beyond just wanting to expand their empire, Google saw a need in the online shopping experience and decided to fulfill it. Although the percentage of traffic coming to ecommerce websites through the mobile platform is steadily increasing, sales conversions from this channel are not. Why is this? Most likely, it’s due to a lack of mobile-friendliness and responsive design in many ecommerce stores, which makes viewing products and entering payment information on a small screen time consuming and frustrating. With Google Buy, all product landing pages will be optimized for mobile, making mobile sales much more likely.
But what about…? Yes, this does sound a lot like Amazon, or eBay. Currently, Amazon is dominating the online marketplace world, for good reason. The ability to search and purchase on one site, plentiful product reviews, and perks like Amazon Prime that offer free two-day shipping are big incentives that encourage conversions. Stepping into Amazon’s arena is a bit like David facing Goliath, but Google Buy does have some advantages, particularly for retailers. Rather than charging a percentage of product profit, Google will continue the pay per click model currently used for all its paid advertising. Additionally, shoppers can opt in to retailer newsletters after making purchases through Google Buy, allowing them to connect directly to the brand. Google has also discussed the possibility of product landing page customization in the future so that retailers can add their company stamp to the buying experience.
We recommend that ecommerce business owners consider giving Google Buy a try once it’s available – particularly if they are already using Google Shopping campaigns. 

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