Fairly recently, Google began upsetting websites by giving information to users on just about any subject without the requirement of actually navigating through to a secondary site. Wikipedia is where most of the material for these info boxes seems to be sourced from, but it appears Google could be going a step further with ‘Buy Now’.
Google already has a Shopping option, much like Images and News, under the main search bar. If you spend much time there you know how it works: enter your item, set some parameters, select from the list and read the reviews. You can then follow through to the product’s site and purchase as you would if you had gone straight there.
But now the search engine monolith has floated the idea of a step up in the e-Commerce sector. Google is approaching retailers with the idea of a ‘Buy Now’ button that would replicate the ‘one-click purchase’ method of sites like Amazon.
Now, Google has always said that its purpose is not to serve websites but rather the user. Its Search Engine Results Pages are built off an algorithm continually developed to source the most relevant and user-friendly websites on a specified topic. The advancements in this field, such as that of the update Hummingbird – capable of comparing synonyms and meanings – have been nothing short of staggering.
The potential to purchase items directly from Google’s SERPs however is a different kettle of fish.
Research firm Forrester has said that barely 10 percent of online shoppers in America begin their process via sites like Google. Compare this to almost 40 percent heading straight to Amazon and you see why Google would want a slice of the action.
The concern from there is, does Google start bumping Amazon down its list in SERPs, and if that becomes the case, how will this affect ongoing algorithm changes that are currently designed to favour user over site?
Google has not become a store in its own right. It will not set up shop in your local mall; it won’t even store products in a warehouse. But it is approaching retailers and it is thinking about cutting deals.
If you run an e-Commerce site this is something you should bare in mind. And if your competitors are getting calls from Google when they start rolling it out – make sure you are too.