Google now testing ‘buy’ button
In what is being seen as a potential challenge to Amazon but perhaps a conflict for retailers, Google plans to begin testing "buy buttons" in coming weeks.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that buttons will appear beside paid search results on mobile in the "Shop on Google" section. Clicking a button takes the shopper to another Google product page, where orders can be customized (sizes, colors, etc.) and shipping options explored before completing the purchase. Google will also store credit card information to let the shopper repeat the process again at another time.
The goods will still be provided and sold by retailers and not Google. Google will continue to be paid by retailers through its existing advertising model but will not take a cut of the sales price of items like Amazon’s and eBay’s marketplace models.
The Journal asserts that the move marks a "major and potentially risky strategy shift that will turn the company into more of an online transactional business, rather than simply a provider of links to information elsewhere on the Internet."
Currently, click-throughs from Google ads take users to the retailer’s website whereas the "buy buttons" will limit the experience to Google sites. And so retailers may lose control over valuable customer information and the overall shopping experience, as well as any complementary sales and content shoppers would normally find browsing further on their websites.
Writing for Forbes, Erika Morphy believes the "buy" buttons being pursued by Google as well as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are all "based on separating the retailer from the customer."
Google is reportedly seeking to calm any related retailer fears by letting shoppers opt in to receive the same shopping experience as they would on the retailer’s website. That would enable retailers to gain e-mail addresses for future marketing efforts, payment information and other personal data. The Journal added the Google purchase site will be "heavily branded" for the stores selling the items with recommendations coming from the retailers.
With mobile shopping taking off, however, the bigger potential benefit may be enabling stores to better compete against one-click shopping apps from Amazon, eBay and others.
Google recently reported that searches on mobile devices are now outnumbering those on personal computers for the first time but the mobile shopping experience has remained awkward at best. With shoppers frustrated navigating retail mobile websites and typing in credit card numbers on tiny mobile screens, a one-click search/pay solution promises to offer the shopper a better mobile shopping experience.
- Can Google Outsell Amazon and eBay? – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- Google’s ‘buy buttons’ will soon let you shop from your phone – Verge
- Why Retailers Should Worry If Google Joins The Buy Button Brigade – Forbes
- ‘Buy’ button in your search results – Mashable
How beneficial would a one-click Google-driven purchase be for mobile shoppers and retailers? Do the benefits for stores around mobile shopping outweigh the potential risks of losing control of the shopping experience and access to data?