From Free To Paid, Google Shifts Shopping Strategy

Sameer-Samat-AGoogle is taking the wraps off Google Shopping, launching a new initiative it says will make it easier for smaller retailers to connect with consumers, and easier for shoppers to find the products they want. It also means it is shifting its free model to a purely commercial one, which it will test and implement throughout the summer.

Once a user initiates a product search, Google Shopping will “show pictures and products integrated in a single experience,” Sameer Samat, VP of product management, Google Shopping, tells Marketing Daily -- adding that it will experiment with looks and approaches in the months ahead. The goal, he says, “is to create a beautiful experience that makes it easier for people to turn their shopping intentions into purchases, and helps merchants attract customers.”

Google is inviting merchants to participate by setting up Product Listing Ads campaigns and offering incentives, including a $100 AdWords credit for stores that sign up before Aug. 15.

Part of the reason for the change, he says, “is that merchants told us they wanted more opportunities to stand out. For small and medium merchants, it’s challenging to compete with larger brands, and we think this can help.”

The effort also squares with its “trusted store” initiative, launched nine months ago, which independently grades stores on shipping and customer service. Stores that earn the “trusted store” badge can display it, encouraging shoppers who may be leery of buying from smaller retailers. 

First, he says, Google will focus on getting the word out to merchants -- transitioning from a free to a commercial model, based on these product-listing ads. Once the transition is complete this fall, he says, the emphasis will shift to building consumer awareness of the changes.

“The idea is that this shopping experience is more intuitive and will provide better answers to queries,” he says, “helping consumers narrow down their choices and click through rapidly to get greater detail.”

Tags: google, online, retail
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