Can Google Close The Trust Gap With Amazon?

With rumors of a Google Retail Marketplace heating up, there has been much speculation about Google’s ability to accurately vet retailers’ customer service and shipping practices. Unlike Amazon, where sellers with poor customer service are quickly booted from the marketplace, those same sellers have been allowed to advertise and sometimes thrive in the Google auction.

Google Trusted Stores was built to handle this issue, but retailers were less than eager to send Google feeds confirming their shipping times and order cancellation rates. In January, Google loosened the requirement, allowing retailers to participate without having to submit that information.  So without the ability to “confirm” that its retail advertisers are living up to their customer service promises, how will Google accurately vet the retailers who chose to participate in their marketplace?

IMO, Google will focus on three main sources to measure the trustworthiness of its retail advertisers. They are:



StellaService - StellaService is like a secret shopper for your online store. Unlike traditional review sources that use online surveys to aggregate customer opinions, StellaService staffers attempts to objectify the customer service experience by actually ordering the products themselves and rating the following KPIs:

Shipping & Delivery:
Average Delivery Time
On-time Delivery Rate
Undamaged Order %

Return Processing Time
Return Policy
Ease of Returns

Customer Service:
Email Support Response Time
Phone Support Response Time

As you might imagine, this data is extremely valuable. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google acquire StellaService sometime in the next 12-18 months.


Bizrate has been collecting customer feedback about retailers since 1996. Immediately after checkout, Bizrate sends customers a survey asking them to rate their shopping experience. Bizrate then sends out another survey after the product has been shipped for the customer to rate the delivery and returns process.

While Google does aggregate other review sources including reseller ratings and trust pilot, Bizrate is by far the largest data source for Google.

Google Trusted Stores

In Google’s ideal world, the company wouldn’t need to rely on external sources to vet its own retail advertisers. Google Trusted Stores was built to help Google recommend legitimate retailers.

Like StellaService and Bizrate, Google Trusted Stores aims to create an eCommerce certification that adds serious seller credibility to online shoppers.

Since Google no longer requires a shipping and cancellation feed, the Google Trusted Stores functionality feels a lot more like Bizrate with a Google makeover. While it may not be the product the company originally set out to build, Google’s brand equity may be enough to inspire confidence from online shoppers who trust Google’s stamp of approval.

Those retailers who fulfill their promises to customers will be pay a lower cost per click which will directly lower their customer acquisition costs.

This change to the Google eco-system should force retailers to re-examine the divide between their customer service and marketing teams as the lines between the two department continues to blur.

1 comment about "Can Google Close The Trust Gap With Amazon?".
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  1. Ben Myers from Freelance, May 29, 2015 at 11:55 a.m.

    Just to be contrarian here, I need to observe that Amazon has a serious gap of its own: the search gap.  I shop Amazon very rarely, simply because the Amazon search is useless.  I try to search for some very exacting item and Amazon gives me a laundry list of very different items.  I do not have time to scroll through them all to find what I want.  The second part of the Amazon search gap is its refusal to allow users to view search results ordered by PRICE+SHIPPING.  Why is this important?  Well, sort your Amazon search results by PRICE alone, and find the scammers who add outrageous shipping charges to outwit clueless shoppers.  It's not worth the bother to shop Amazon.  Give me eBay any time, with Alibaba's T-Mart not too shabby either.

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