Earlier this week, Google announced that their ‘Buy on Google’ checkout experience will no longer charge a commission fee as well as allowing retailers to use third-party payment providers such as PayPal and Shopify.
Whilst this is currently rolling out in the US with the option of enrolling for the pilot if it proves successful, this will more than likely be rolled out to the rest of the world sometime next year.
When you look at this new rollout in combination with Google Surfaces and free listing ads for retailers, there are soon going to be very few barriers to entry for many retailers getting exposure through Google’s platforms. As we’ve seen with the high street, the customer has increasingly looked away from big brands and towards local, more authentic shops. Google are looking to capture this market by not only lowering the entry requirements but also offering filters for shoppers allowing them to search for small businesses.
To further support with this, Google are making it easier to provide a feed by enabling commonly used feed formats. Complex feed requirements have made it difficult for smaller businesses in the past so this will be a welcome change.
The benefits to Google are clear as customers and businesses will stay locked within the Google ecosystem, this will ensure that trends of searches and products can be accurately measured by their systems and provide them with significant amounts of data. This data will likely be more valuable to them than the fee they were charging in the first place.
Although it’s not outwardly stated, by turning Google into more of a shopping platform, it should allow them to take back some of their lost searches from Amazon. With Amazon now earning a significant amount of a customer’s first search towards a product, their ads and shopping platform were beginning to grow exceptionally quickly. It’s clear that Google want you to think of them the first time your search for a product and not Amazon.
All in all, this looks like a win-win for most small businesses although they will need to keep a careful eye on a potential loss of data if customers only buy through the Google platform and never visit the site. Whilst this cuts down the user journey and should increase conversion rate, it also makes it harder to understand how customers interact with your site and brand.