Google has been dropping lots of hints lately about their desire to become not just a leader in advertising, but a leader in  ecommerce as well. A recent Forrester report claims that 30% of all online shoppers start their product research at Amazon.com is just fuel to the fire.

Google is trying to combat that growing percentage with more sustainable consumer-focused ecommerce initiatives, centered around local availability, the Google Wallet, Google Shopping, and Google Trusted Stores.

The following is an analysis of Google’s recent ecommerce developments.

Google Shopping Testing New Detail Pages

In a recent webinar with Jon Venverloh, Google Shopping’s Senior Product Manager, he went over some new Google Shopping comparison pages. Check it out:

I spy:

  1. A ‘Shop now’ button that looks extremely similar to a ‘Buy now’ or ‘add to cart’ button on any ecommerce site.
  2. A buy box that Sports Basement owns.
  3. The true comparison page for that product above the Sports Basement callout which reads ‘Shop Online – 21 results’
  4. More callouts for local marketing under the Sports Basement buy box.
  5. Greater integration of product reviews, Google+, and an ‘add to list’ feature that really bring this page together.

The big missing piece is the actual shopping cart software. My hunch: Google may allow users to ‘buy products now’ straight from Google Shopping with one click, but only from retailers that are enrolled in the Google Trusted Stores program.

Why?

Google knows Amazon’s dominance comes from their focus on the customer. Google Trusted Stores is Google’s customer service lantern into ecommerce companies. I think many of us also know the ease in which we can shop and buy with one click buying on Amazon.

Take away hoops for the user to jump through (comparison pages, go to the merchants site, add that item to the cart, checkout) and make the shopping experience focused around a Google Wallet account, Google+ for sharing and a one-click purchase option for Google Trusted Stores, you’re going to end up increasing conversions for the merchants using those programs. Higher conversions also gives Google more room to charge the merchants that list on their program.

More updates from a recent developer conference on Google’s plans to push the wallet to new users here. You can tell this is a hot item for all tech companies – getting users to adopt online payment methods to easily make purchases without entering a 12 digit card number on a desktop or touch screen.

Once these systems start integrating more seamlessly with desktop and mobile, the ecommerce market is going to see a big uptick.

Google Trusted Stores Markup Now In Comparison Pages

Our lead account manager (Jeff Coleman) found this Google Trusted Stores callout on a Google Shopping comparison page the other day:

Check it out for yourself here.

Google also recently released a G+ Hangout on the Google Trusted Stores program that you can check out in the video below.

What About Local Availability?

We’ve heard rumors of Amazon to soon compete with DHL and Fedex. We expect Google to do something similar but on a local fulfillment level, but their timeline to making a service like this public is likely much farther in the future than Amazon. Their intricate Google Local Places program, cars that can be driven with no one inside, and Google Store Tours, you can begin to see a faint outline of Google’s direction in terms of fulfillment.

One thing Amazon knows is that proper fulfillment is extremely complicated but extremely important to the customer. Google knows this and will either rely on its Trusted Stores partners with fulfillment duties or offer a ‘Fulfillment by Google’ style service to rival Amazon’s in order to help merchants fulfill orders more quickly and effectively.

The stars are beginning to align for Google to take a more direct role in the fulfillment process of ecommerce. Some think this type of system is a must for Google to compete head on with Amazon.

Bringing It All Together

Google has a real uphill battle to transverse if they want to start eating away at that 30% product search market share that Amazon has. They seem to have the right ideas.

However, this is going to be a risky growth period for them which will define their adult years as an ecommerce company. With the transition to Google Shopping paid, there’s been numerous product gaps in their catalog that they’ve been scrambling to fix.

Amazon must be sitting back and enjoying the scramble, knowing that some of those users will go to Amazon to continue their search. But Google does have the potential to compete head on with Amazon in ecommerce and start gaining market share if they can convince all of their users – not just users that are shopping online – that Google provides the most rich product data and an even more streamlined user experience for shopping.

If a consumer has a good experience searching for products on Google and buying them once, well, duh, they’re going to do it again. Amazon has this down to a science. Google is trying to get their PHD.

What do you think will happen?

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Retail | Google: Google Shopping | Search & Retail

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About The Author: is CEO and co-founder of CPC Strategy, a full-service data feed and comparison shopping management solution.He has been covering Google Shopping in January 2007, when he began testing title keyword optimization in Google Base data feeds. Since then, he’s helped author more than 3 books on the topic.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • http://twitter.com/mikaeluusitalo Mikael Uusitalo

    Google hates affiliates … my ass!

  • http://twitter.com/Kevin_Lee_QED Kevin Lee

    Google may indeed have a desire to become a merchant platform similar to Amazon, Sears, Buy.com, Overstock & eBay. However, unlike most of the others I expect to see a heavy strategic push to also become the go-to source for determining whether items are in-stock at specific brick and mortar locations.
    Either way, in order to maximize the value of the Google ecosystem the pureplay ecommerce folks and the traditional retailers need to get their acts together either internally or by partnering with the right vendor/agency.

  • Alex Murphy

    I see Google as being in a unique position to combine e-commerce sites into their listing alongside “block-and-mortar” stores listed in Google+ Local, letting users buy local if they choose. They could offer a “web wide” Amazon Prime style membership where you can get free 2-day shipping from any site that signs up for Google Shopping.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    I agree this is likely on their road map, but see them more as marketplace + in-store pickup (Google Wallet) initially. Warehousing and fulfillment are a big challenge. Meanwhile, Amazon is moving towards same day delivery in major markets, which will be another gut shot to brick and mortars.

  • http://www.sim64.co.uk/ Terry Simmonds

    I shop at Amazon because I trust Amazon and judging from past experience know that if I send an email to Amazon about anything I will get a human reply within 24 hours.
    Do I feel I will get a human reply from Google? – no laughing please.

  • http://www.webstatsart.com/ Webstats Art

    I think Google is making too many enemies.

  • http://twitter.com/ttwelsh tj welsh

    Interesting insights. I was thinking the same thing on a different level. Do a search for “things to do in nyc” without the quotes and see what it comes up with. You will notice they have a section at the top of the search results. I thought this looked a lot like Amazon’s site. That was yesterday, then I came across this post…. What’s next?

 

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