Google now testing ‘buy’ button

Discussion
May 18, 2015

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."

Google buy button

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.

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?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Google, with its "Buy" button, is aiming to minimize the friction associated with mobile purchases, including the fragmented browsing and ordering processes currently experienced by consumers."
"As the article states, shoppers are frustrated with retailers’ mobile websites. Does Google intend to fix that with click-to-buy? I don’t see how they will accomplish that goal."
"This is a potential disruptor to what has seemed to become the norm. By the way, when Amazon came into the market they were considered the disruptor to retail — and still are in many areas. If Google puts a Buy button next to the ads, it will still be tracking data."

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8 Comments on "Google now testing ‘buy’ button"


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Matt Schmitt
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Google, with its “Buy” button, is aiming to minimize the friction associated with mobile purchases, including the fragmented browsing and ordering processes currently experienced by consumers. Shoppers may embrace this, especially for impulse purchases of products they know they want. However, in the mid/long-term, retailers may be more removed from the flow, with consumers and product brands engaging in more of a direct engagement model.

Max Goldberg
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

As the article states, shoppers are frustrated with retailers’ mobile websites. Does Google intend to fix that with click-to-buy? I don’t see how they will accomplish that goal. They may make it easier to buy, but Google cannot guarantee a satisfactory customer experience like the one offered by Amazon.

When combined with the possibility of Google retaining most of the customer information, this may not be a panacea for retailers.

Shep Hyken
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

This is a potential disruptor to what has seemed to become the norm. By the way, when Amazon came into the market they were considered the disruptor to retail — and still are in many areas. If Google puts a Buy button next to the ads, it will still be tracking data. It not only knows who is linking to the retailer’s ad, it now knows who the serious buyer is. Is it good or bad? That depends who you talk to. I’m sure the retailer who has a good pay-per-click campaign that sees conversions (sales) go up will be delighted. Competitors will be upset, maybe even jealous. Amazon might see this as competition to their system, but I don’t see that as being a bad thing. Even so, Amazon’s system is much different and has some quality control built in — plus the retailer ratings.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
7 years 1 month ago
Electronic transactions are the retail cash cows of the present. Today companies like eBay and Amazon are making retailers as we know them the middleman. Factory/farm direct-to-consumer at lower prices is the growth in the industry and third-party finances and logistics recover billions for both sellers and consumers. The elephant in this room is system security issues that are getting worse to the extent that cash sales are on the rise again especially in small retail institutions. Skeptics with little or no recent floor time will point to increases in transactions and dollars that do not break down the reports to managing information levels used to create consumer trending reports. Nevertheless, security is an issue that can only be seen as a significant area of opportunity that is growing at exponential rates of speed. The banks and insurance companies are facing this turmoil with a blind eye to the opportunity for very large retailers and/or retail cooperatives to respond by getting into the money business themselves. As we have stated many times in this collective… Read more »
Lee Kent
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

For certain products, this could be a real win for retail. Also, I am not sure what data the retailer needs to be missing. Since the retailer will still be shipping the item, why wouldn’t Google share all of the purchasers information?

Just sayin’ for my 2 cents.

Arie Shpanya
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

A Google buy button would definitely simplify the mcommerce process. Improving sales with an easier checkout experience would be great for retailers, but losing the sales data would be the biggest downside. If Google has a way to pass that data on to retailers, then I can see this being a win for all.

Vahe Katros
Guest
Vahe Katros
7 years 1 month ago

Occam’s Razor (from Wikipedia): “The principle states that among competing hypotheses that predict equally well, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.”

Occam’s Retail (No results found on Google, coined here first): “Among competing shopping options, the one with the fewest clicks should be selected.”

If Google is the Zero Moment of Truth, why not capture the Zero+ moments and learn more and potentially reduce hassle? If they can also master the delivery of top reviews in the sidebar or in the navigation bar, they will intercept the common zero+ context which is to read reviews.

Linda Bustos
Guest
Linda Bustos
7 years 1 month ago

While this could be an exciting new ad format and customer acquisition tactic for retailers, and though it affects only paid search results, it’s a major threat to a brand’s relationship with its customer. Handing over customer experience to Google eliminates the ability to cross-sell, upsell, surprise and delight and build an email or social list to remarket to in addition to cannibalizing search acquisition.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Google, with its "Buy" button, is aiming to minimize the friction associated with mobile purchases, including the fragmented browsing and ordering processes currently experienced by consumers."
"As the article states, shoppers are frustrated with retailers’ mobile websites. Does Google intend to fix that with click-to-buy? I don’t see how they will accomplish that goal."
"This is a potential disruptor to what has seemed to become the norm. By the way, when Amazon came into the market they were considered the disruptor to retail — and still are in many areas. If Google puts a Buy button next to the ads, it will still be tracking data."

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