Google doesn’t want consumers simply to search for products to buy—the company wants that transaction as well.
The search giant slowly inched towards rolling out more shopping capabilities within many of its products, like debuting shoppable ads in search results back in March. Now, at San Francisco conference Google Marketing Live, Google announced that it’s rolling out five new shopping features, from a shopping hub to ads that let users buy online and pick up in-store.
The first major news includes a shopping hub coming later this year called Google Shopping, where users can shop from thousands of merchants. The personalized hub will include reviews and videos about the products someone’s looking for, and every purchase is “backed by a Google guarantee.” A blue shopping cart indicates the Google guarantee and that it’s eligible to buy on Google. Similar to Instagram checkout, Google will step in and deal with any returns and customer support, while the actual merchant does fulfillment and takes back the return.
Companies like Target and Crocs—which are already part of Shopping Actions, a tool enabling consumers to easily buy products across Google with their Google account as long as a merchant has enabled that ability—are now automatically part of this easy way to shop. (Merchants only pay a fee for using shopping actions when a sale actually happens.) Google’s rolling out shopping actions to YouTube and Google Images later this year.
With BOPIS top of mind for retailers and brands across the country, Google’s now making it easier to show consumers that option on a shopping ad. (As of now, only products that can be picked up in seven days will be shown.) To enable this service, a merchant needs to have product landing pages on its website to show BOPIS, as well as a “local inventory feed” in Google’s merchant center. The feature is currently in beta.
The company’s other rollouts include more marketing and advertising related products, such as expanding showcase shopping ads to appear on more Google products like Google Images and YouTube. Smart shopping campaigns, another ad format that uses machine learning to surface an ad at the right time and place across Google products, can now show local inventory, making it easier to drive customers to a store.
Google is further blurring the lines between who’s helping who with brands and retailers by introducing shopping campaigns with partners in beta, in which brands can dedicate parts of its budget to surface certain products in a retailer’s shopping campaign. One example Google cites is the Estée Lauder Companies, which saw a 70% increase in clicks with its retail partner.