Google Shopping US shows new strategic plays from Google
You may have read my post introducing Google Shopping last week on the changes coming to what is currently called Google Product. It has been interesting to watch the noise unfold on the subject.
Google is already rolling out their user experience updates in the US on http://google.com/shopping, no doubt ahead of the coming Google Shopping UK updates on http://www.google.co.uk/shopping. See the screenshots below to see the differences to the UK platform and what this suggests about Google’s strategy.
Google Shopping UK – August 2012
Google Shopping US – August 2012
Three key areas to Google Shopping
Outside of the main Google Shopping website experience Google has also introduced three services to further enhance your shopping experience with them. The three services outlined below are live & operational in the USA, no-doubt coming to the UK shores soon too.
Built for tablets (specifically android or iOS) this interactive app brings some of the worlds leading brands catalogs into a really easy to use application. Giving you the ability to browse multiple catalogs without waiting for snail mail deliveries and also making it easier for brands to update and share new versions with you. Much more efficient! Once you have a Google Merchant account you can apply for access to Google Catalogs at which point you just have to provide business information and a high res PDF of your catalog.
A mobile phone service (Android + iOS) that makes excellent use of the capabilities of smart phones. Allowing the obvious benefits such as voice recognition to trigger searches as well as the ability to see local store information and he ability to share with friends. Some nice touches such as a barcode scanner and nearby / online offers on the product you’re looking at.
Google offers takes the now well-known group-on website functionality to give you offers in your local area or by categories you decide that you’re interested in. You can view it on mobile phones, or from regular emails from Google, or by viewing Google Offers online.
The importance of this three new features on what was a very flat list of products before should not be underestimated. A classical online merchandising role is about to receive a great suite of tools to further enhance your product / brand footprint online. Ensuring you are covering the basics in each tool is fundamental to remaining competitive in this space.
The Importance of Mobile
A hot, hot subject these days and for all the right reasons. The research and trends are pointing towards our growing use of mobile devices for product research and to a lesser extent (at the moment) purchase.
A recent Google blog post explains our use of tablets & phones while watching TV and how we are triggered by TV to further research products while dual screening. Google have an amazing research / data orientated site dedicated to mobile here (http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/mobileplanet/en/) which is well worth using as you need to understand mobile trends more and build a business case. You can create your own charts, for example:
Google shopping on mobile devices has obviously been optimised too, recognising the trends Google have gone to some lengths to make sure the service is easy to use whether it’s a large screen tablet or a mobile phone.
The key thing with the above in mind is that you need to be using Product Ad listings to make sure your products are promoted to mobile users by making sure your adverts are set to target mobile users.
So, by looking to the US, retailers elsewhere in the world can plan ahead for their future strategies. Pass it on. Or not.