Google has begun a limited rollout of a buying option to its Google Shopping search results – a move that could completely shift the market for PPC players.
After months of speculation that Google would be introducing a “Buy” button to retailers’ Google Shopping results, the search giant has this week begun a limited rollout of a “Purchase on Google” feature, a move that could have a hefty impact on the current PPC market.
Officially breaking the story, the Wall Street Journal explains the idea behind the feature – consumers will apparently be able to purchase products directly from Google’s Shopping page, saving them the trouble of clicking through multiple pages to find a product, sift through choices like size and color, and at long last, make a payment.
Instead, Google will combine all these steps into one quick and seamless experience, which means as soon as a potential customer hits the search button in Google, they’ll be directed to Google Shopping, where they can then choose to compare prices from the biggest retailers.
Once a customer has made a purchasing decision, they can select their delivery and payment options – and the new feature will support a huge range of options, not limited to the ones a particular retailer supports. After entering their information, which is stored securely in Google Shopping, they’re pretty much finished. Talk about painless!
The item will then be dispatched by the retailer, who won’t even have to give Google a share of the product’s revenue, unlike through Amazon and eBay. The value for the search engine giant comes later, though, as retailers will have to pay at some point via Google’s existing ads structure.
The Impact on Retailers
This rumour has upset many retailers, all of whom are concerned that outlets already spending a lot on AdWords – including those using sponsored search – will be the only options to appear in the search results.
Although this is certainly good news for companies that have big budgets to spend on PPC, it will definitely affect the smaller players – both those who don’t have hefty SEM budgets as well as those that sell products restricted by Google’s advertising guidelines.
Google hasn’t revealed whether it will show preference to the retailers that spend more or those that have demonstrated a particular strategy with their spend, but it’s very likely to implement some crafty algorithm to help decide which retailers to show and which not to.
I should also note that the Buy button will only appear on mobile shopping results, which means that companies who focus their spending on desktop will likely suffer, especially after taking a hit from Google’s mobile algorithm update last month.
Dave Ragals, global managing director of search at IgnitionOne, told Search Engine Watch:
It’s hardly a surprise. As mobile continues to grow, it’s the right place for Google to start expanding. Specifically, for mobile in retail, Google is still at a disadvantage in comparison to Amazon. On Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, consumers can search and buy all in one place, which is something that Google hasn’t offered before.
The WSJ also reports that payment information and other customer data will not be passed along to the retailer, which means that these retailers won’t necessarily be able to market to particular customer demographics – another frustrating fact for many smaller retailers.
Google’s launch of its Trusted Stores programme received similar criticism, as retailers were upset that they had to share their order and shipping data with the search engine giant. According to Search Engine Land, however, use of the platform increased when Google dropped these rather strict requirements.
How This Revelation Will Change PPC Forever
This news further proves that Google is getting a bigger share of the shopping market each and every day. If you’re a retailer, it’s important to start preparing for the change now – you might have to adjust your strategy accordingly.
If you aren’t already using mobile PPC, now is the time to make the switch, before Google rolls out this update.
And if you aren’t even involved in PPC at all, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee – Google is going to make it harder for those companies not spending with the search engine to get seen, so make the move now before it’s truly too late.
If you’re not exactly sure where to start with your PPC strategy, Adthena’s competitive intelligence for search can help you find the right targets and make sure you’re not limited by the keywords you think you should be targeting.
Contact us today to find out how to boost your brand visibility and maximise sales – even when Google decides to put a spanner in your SEM game.