Will AI elevate Google as a shopping search tool?

Discussion
Source: Google
Oct 04, 2022

At its annual Search On event, Google unveiled a number of shopping tools employing Shopping Graph, Google‘s AI-enhanced model that now understands more than 35 billion product listings, up from 24 billion last year.

Google describes the tools as follows:

More Visual Ways To Shop

  • Simplified search-based shopping: Searching the word “shop” followed by an item brings up a visual feed of products, research tools and nearby inventory. 
  • Shoppable looks: A “shop the look” feature displays complementary pieces for building a wardrobe.
  • Trending products section: A “Trending Now” feature shows current popular products within a category.
  • Shop in 3D: Following the introduction of 3D visuals of home goods to Search, Google is extending 3D visuals to shoes, starting with sneakers. The tool taps machine learning to introduce a simpler and cheaper way to build 3D visuals using a few still photos (instead of hundreds).

Tools To Shop With Confidence

  • Buying guides: Buying guides share helpful insights about a category from a range of sources.
  • Page insights: The Page Insights feature in the Google app offers context about a webpage being visited or product being researched.
  • Personalized results: Shoppers now get enhanced personalized results based on previous shopping habits, and can also describe their preferences, as well as turn off personalized results.

More Personal Shopping Experiences

  • Dynamic search filters: Page shopping filters on Search adapt based on what’s trending.
  • New discovery tools: Using Discover in the Google app brings up suggested styles based on what items are being shopping for, and what others have searched for, as well.

Throughout the pandemic, Google has rolled free listings, eliminated commission fees and integrated third-party selling tools, including Shopify and PayPal, to support merchants, but has also made investments in personalization, style inspiration, price tracking and localization to elevate the shopper experience.

According to Jungle Scout’s “Consumer Trends Report Q2 2022,” 61 percent of U.S. consumers begin their product hunt on Amazon, 49 percent on a search engine like Google and 32 percent on Walmart.com. Social media channels like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok were also found to be playing an expanding role in online product searches.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see artificial intelligence reinventing Google’s role as a shopping search tool? Which of the new features offer the most promise as a shopping differentiator from Amazon and other product search threats?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"AI will not only transform Google, but the entire digital universe."
"The personalized results and the highly visual nature of this effort should resonate with consumers."
"At present, there is too much clutter and noise to make shopping on Google consistently easy and pleasurable. The experience is somewhat hit and miss."

Join the Discussion!

8 Comments on "Will AI elevate Google as a shopping search tool?"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

At present, there is too much clutter and noise to make shopping on Google consistently easy and pleasurable. The experience is somewhat hit and miss. Although it is more disciplined, the same applies to Amazon to an extent. This tends to happen when there are loads of listings rather than a curated experience. Part of the job of AI is to step in and undertake this curation and to make the process of product discovery easier. Google has a way to go, but this is a step in the right direction.

Katie Thomas
BrainTrust

Google is certainly one of the brands that could be a frontrunner to mimic the in-store shopping experience online, and continuing to evolve and add new tools is the right way to do it. As an n of 1, I think their shopping search functionality has noticeably improved in recent months.

That said, besides the obvious desire for consumers to want to see and touch products in person, the biggest hurdle Google will still have is sheer options – how does it help to curate and simplify for consumers so they don’t get overwhelmed and abandon purchase?

Dion Kenney
BrainTrust
3 months 24 days ago

AI will certainly be a major component in the shopping experience, but not the only one. We will likely see the “plumbing” of the technology – near-universal connectivity, “smart” devices, special function software (search, inventory, accounting, carts, etc), and integrations/automations (powered by IFTTT, Zapier, Integromat, and other behind the scenes enabling tools) create a new user experience and mindset.

Collectively, these digital technologies are “force multipliers” which are creating new efficiencies and new operational frameworks that were previously impossible. The change is happening every day, in both visible and hidden ways. We may adapt best by not thinking of it as “artificial intelligence” but as “augmented intelligence.”

Lucille DeHart
BrainTrust

AI will not only transform Google, but the entire digital universe. Machines are simply more capable of absorbing, processing and predicting large amounts of complex data across variables than simple programs and human interfaces. Leveraging shopper search and layering on innovative shopping commands and functions will differentiate Google over Amazon. Amazon is great for buying, but I still believe that they fall short in “browsing/shopping/impulse” functions.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

Leveraging artificial intelligence is imperative for better search and recommendation functions for online shopping. As noted in the article, Amazon is the clear leader in online product search and by purchases. The feature that sounds very promising from Google is the buying guides, however I could not find it on their shopping webpages.

David Spear
BrainTrust

Over the past year, Google has improved its shopping search features/functions. Nothing is perfect, not even Amazon, but I like the roll out of these tools as they will enhance consumers’ journeys for specific products. “Shop the look” has tremendous upside and certainly offers consumers a convenient way to purchase a bundle of items that can be used in a variety of ways.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

The personalized results and the highly visual nature of this effort should resonate with consumers. It will be difficult to compete with the learned behavior of going to Amazon first, but the range of brands available here is a significant differentiator.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Forty-nine percent of shoppers begin their product hunt on Google. That is second only to Amazon. Yet the Google shopping experience has been less than ideal.

The announced improvements will only increase Google’s product search numbers as soon as shoppers discover them. Google will change the online shopping experience. Could they catch Amazon for that first look?

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"AI will not only transform Google, but the entire digital universe."
"The personalized results and the highly visual nature of this effort should resonate with consumers."
"At present, there is too much clutter and noise to make shopping on Google consistently easy and pleasurable. The experience is somewhat hit and miss."

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