The new Google Shopping experience – which has been rolled out in the US – offers consumers personalised product recommendations, price alerts and the ability to buy from merchants directly via Google, using the search giant’s checkout system and payment details stored on their Google account.
This new experience gives us a preview of what the platform could look like for global users in the near future. The revamp first debuted in France earlier this year which suggests Google is happy the experience is GDPR-compliant and suitable for rollout across the EU.
Here’s what it looks like.
A new, personalised Google Shopping experience
Google announced the new Google Shopping experience last week, giving us a preview of what the platform looks like in the US now. Sadly, there’s no word when this new experience will land in the UK and other territories, but we imagine Google is going to want to roll this out sooner rather than later.
Here’s what Google has to say about the redesign and how it’s going to enhance the shopping experience:
“With information from thousands of stores in one place, you can discover and compare millions of products, and find the best prices and places to buy online or from a store nearby.”
Personalisation is at the heart of this new experience. Users will be greeted with product suggestions on the homepage, which also features recent purchases to make repeat buying easier, and recently viewed products to help users pick up where they left off last time.
“The new homepage is personalized so you see useful product suggestions, as well as sections that help you reorder common items or continue your shopping research. And when you’re ready to buy, you can choose to purchase online, at a nearby store, or directly from retailers on Google.”
Of course, we’re used to seeing features like these on Amazon and similar eCommerce platforms. This is where Google’s biggest competition comes from now, especially Amazon – the dominant name in online retail and Google’s direct competitor in voice search, in the form of the ongoing Google Home vs Amazon Echo battle.
Luckily, Google has a few unique features up its sleeve that could give Google Shopping the edge for online consumers.
1. Getting the best deal with price tracking
One of the most innovative features for consumers in the new Google Shopping experience is price tracking. Once they’ve found a product they’re interested in, they can hit the Track Price toggle to receive mobile notifications when the item they’re looking at drops in price. Users can opt-in to receive notifications through email, which will also trigger notifications on desktop if they have this enabled in Gmail or their email client of choice.
Crucially for retailers, price tracking only appears to apply to the specific retailer users are looking at when they turn this feature on. So they’ll get notifications when that specific retailer drops their prices for the product. Google doesn’t seem to be recommending other retailers with lower prices, meaning there’s no pressure on retailers to compete with a race to the bottom on pricing.
2. Finding local products and stores with Google Shopping
Google’s biggest strength is being able to integrate its shopping platform in the wider search experience. This is a key element of the Google Shopping redesign, which allows users to find products in their local area and stores that stock the items they’re looking for.
“Sometimes you need something in the moment or want to see and touch an item before you buy. Google Shopping lets you filter for nearby products, so you can find local stores that carry what you need and see whether they have it in stock.”
The most important words in that quote are “in the moment”. This aspect of the new Google Shopping experience is there for users who are ready to buy now and all they need is to find a nearby store with the item they’re looking for in stock.
3. Buying products directly from Google Shopping
As it stands, the biggest strength Amazon has vs Google is the fact that users can buy products from within the app, where all their payment details are stored. This means shoppers are free to buy items within a few clicks, which leaves very little room for friction getting in the way of sales.
Google is looking to put this right in its own shopping platform by allowing consumers to buy products from within the Google Shopping platform, using the payment details stored on their Google account. So, much like Amazon, users can buy products on the new Google Shopping experience with a few simple clicks.
All purchases made through the platform will be covered by a Google guarantee, which will help users feel confident about buying from new retailers without having to visit their website to try and gauge how trustworthy they are.
4. The ethical shopping card
According to findings from research agency Walnut, 75% of consumers in the UK say they make purchase decisions based on ethical grounds, such as eco-friendly manufacturing. With this in mind, one of the most interesting aspects of the new Google Shopping experience is Google’s promise to “offset the carbon emissions created from shipping your order.”
As explained in a separate announcement on sustainability, Google will tally up the carbon footprint of products being delivered via its platform and offset this through its carbon reduction measures.
“Starting today, when you buy a product on Google Shopping or purchase Made by Google hardware, we’ll offset the carbon emissions generated from that product being shipped to you. This means that for every metric ton of carbon dioxide produced in shipping, we will ensure that the same volume of emissions is removed.”
By reassuring consumers that the environmental damage caused by their online purchases will effectively be cancelled out by Google’s carbon reduction measures, it’s putting itself in a really strong position for consumers amid the rise of ethical shopping.
The new Google Shopping experience makes the platform a much stronger competitor against Amazon in the battle for eCommerce dominance. However, Google has also introduced some unique features by playing on its own strengths as a search engine and solving practical shopping challenges for consumers, while also protecting the interests of retailers selling on its platform.
All in all, this looks like a major upgrade that makes Google Shopping more promising for consumers and retailers alike. The only problem is that we’ll have to wait for the new experience to roll out here in the UK.
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