The commerce war between Google, Amazon and eBay is about to heat up even more as Google announced last week (May 15) that it was planning on turning its search engine into a shopping marketplace for mobile devices.
But the question on everyone’s minds in the payments and commerce space is about how Google can compete against eCommerce giants eBay and Amazon, or as The Wall Street Journal article points out: Can Google outsell them? Only time will tell once that buy button is launched.
WSJ cited unnamed sources said to be familiar with the launch of the new service, which will allow a “buy button” to appear when searchers browse for products using their mobile device. What will likely add to the profitable part for Google, at least if the plans play out, is the fact that the buy button option will come with sponsored search results. The buy button won’t be connected to non-sponsored results that show up during a basic Google search.
To complete the purchase via Google, searchers would become buyers once they are directed to a Google product page that allows for the purchase, WSJ reported. That page will act similar to a normal retailer’s page, where consumers will be able to finalize details like size, quantity and shipping preferences. It’s important to note that the products aren’t sold by Google, but Google will act as a marketplace to host retailer’s goods. Sources indicate that Macy’s may be one of those retailers, though that has yet to be confirmed.
This new buy button option is being reported first as a mobile option, which could eventually roll out to computers. But why is Google after mobile first? Well, that’s where most the activity seems to be shifting.
As MPD CEO Karen Webster points out, comScore reports that 29 percent of all search activity is now done on mobile devices. In fact, recent stats indicate that 50 percent of all eCommerce traffic is now driven by mobile devices, and 23 percent of all online sales are driven by mobile devices. More is happening on phones, and that number is steadily increasing.
But what Google is also about is the ads.
“Google is in the search business, but we all know it’s really in the ad business. That’s where it makes almost 100 percent of its revenue. And in the online search ad business, ad platforms only make money when people click,” Webster wrote in her recent column. “A click doesn’t guarantee a conversion—which is an actual sale or action on the part of a customer—but it sure helps. And conversions equal revenue for merchants. So let me repeat: more clicks means more money to Google; more clicks means more conversions and money to merchants.”
When it comes to shopping, what Google has caught onto is the appeal of Amazon and eBay that allow for one-click purchases, which can take the friction out of the commerce experience. Google wants to capitalize on that and grab those clicks before the shoppers have a chance to go onto Amazon or eBay.
News of Google’s buy button was first reported at the end of 2014, when WSJ reported that Google had approached retailers to create this button. Google Shopping previously would refer shoppers to merchants’ websites through its search function but now, with the most recent news indicating the plans are moving forward, commerce on Google could soon change. It was also reported at that same time that Google was also reportedly working to team up with merchants to promote two-day shipping for products bought through Google Shopping.