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
Ease of Returns
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.