TECHNOLOGY

Google moves into Amazon Marketplace’s turf

BY Dan Berthiaume

Google is positioning itself as a direct Amazon Marketplace competitor with a revamped e-commerce offering.

The online juggernaut is taking advantage of the hundreds of millions of shopping-related searches people already perform on its platform on a daily basis. In a corporate blog post, Surojit Chattarjee, VP of product management, shopping for Google, explained how Google is creating a new, frictionless shopping experience.

Shoppers will have a personalized homepage on the existing Google Shopping tab, where they can filter results based on features and brands, read reviews, and watch videos about products. For example, if a shopper is looking for headphones, they can filter for wireless and a preferred brand.

The blue shopping cart on the item shows shoppers they can seamlessly purchase what they want with returns and customer support, backed by a Google guarantee. This new shopping experience will merge select features of the Google Express e-commerce service with the Google Shopping online product search and price comparison platform.

Retailers who already participate in Google’s Shopping Actions direct-to-consumer sales program will have their products automatically included in the new Google online purchase experience on Google Shopping, the main Google Site, and Google Assistant. Later this year, Google will expand Shopping Actions direct-to-consumer retail capabilities to platforms including YouTube and Google Images.

Furthermore, Google is introducing new shoppable YouTube Discovery ads. Coming soon, Discovery ads enable brands to automatically create promotional videos by uploading social campaign images. Consumers will be able to click on the video to be directly linked to a landing page for the product being promoted.

In addition to helping drive online sales, Google is also taking steps to help increase retailers’ brick-and-mortar sales. Google is streamlining the process for retailers to offer buy-online-pickup-in-store services by directly connecting ads on the site to product landing pages and local inventory feeds. Additionally, retailers can indicate which items they can quickly ship to store for in-store pickup.

Other new e-commerce features Google will release later this year include a revamped version of its Smart Shopping campaigns, which use machine learning to optimize ad performance and placement. The enhanced campaigns will enable retailers to optimize ads for store visits and display local inventory information. And a shopping campaigns with partners feature will allow brands to use their own Google advertising budgets to help promote their products in retailers’ Smart Shopping campaigns.

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