The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is now in the works of developing a BUY NOW option to compete with Amazon online. This would keep search traffic longer on Google and focused on Google related products and partnerships by enhancing its user experience.
“Google Inc. plans to push deeper into online commerce by enhancing its Google Shopping service with features that more directly challenge Amazon.com Inc.” write Wall Street Journal’s Rolfe Winkler and Alistair Barr. “Until now, Google Shopping has referred shoppers to merchants’ websites via links in search results. But Google wants to keep users on its own pages longer, rather than send them elsewhere.”
What are the Differences? The Advantages and Disadvantages?
Google’s advantage is that it has a powerhouse global search engine to embed the BUY NOW option directly into the search results. Google’s reach seems almost infinite, but at this time, limited to those searching for products – it still needs to send the click away to another referral site. On a level playing field, Amazon cannot compete with as they are not a search engine for exposure.
Yet, Amazon does have other advantages Google doesn’t at this time. First – they have branded their reputation. Many of its products are stored and shipped from physical warehouse locations that they can access quickly. When shoppers are online, looking for products, there ‘search’ is targeted to their database, returns their results and keeps the user shopping from within the store at all times. I know this and am a regular prime shopper with Amazon! They also have the Prime service which has been up and running for some time. Google plans to move in a different direction and shake things up. They plan to generate sales through third party retailers who opt into their marketing program and use Google’s name and shipping options to increase their sales.
Google isn’t neglecting the “Prime” service offer that Amazon currently has in place either. Although Google doesn’t store, sell or ship products directly, they will develop a 2 day free shipping option just as “Amazon Prime” has done and set a yearly subscription fee charge offer and extending to all third party merchants who join the program.
Google’s approach is to have third party merchants buy in, and offer their products to customers directly in the SERP results, thus increasing ‘visibility’ on products. That coupled with the possibility of the ‘BUY NOW’ option, could potentially create a real headache for Amazon’s business market share going forward.
Another problem that Google will need to tackle is the use of mobile and smartphones for online shopping. With these market shares increasing year over year now by shoppers, Google will need to address this too. Amazon’s APP is a perfect example of how they have clients avoid going to Google to search for products, as they can just open the APP and search for what they want within the Amazon’s own site and database. Google will need to look at this carefully, if they want to get better at just using search to influence online shopping and buying. I gather Google will need some sort of custom APP that has this new marketing program integrated and they are likely exploring options.
Amazon.com – The app that is the most popular among mobile shoppers. If Google decided it was going to level the playing field, they will need to consider a App of some sort. Amazon.com’s App is the #1 in downloads and a successful App needs to engage customers, provide an innovative experience, and make purchasing easier than ever before!
How the Service Would Work
Google is looking to change and improve online shopping for users, by simplifying the experience. They already offer their proprietary “Instant Buy” via Google Wallet that can have people completing purchases online in as little as 2 clicks.
The ‘BUY NOW’ button would allow searches to purchase items directly from Google’s Search results. This would keep them inside Google’s network and on page longer. Users would then provide shipping and credit-card information just one time, which then Google would pass onto the retailers.
Are Ethics Involved?
Because of the competition between these two powerhouses, it raises some ethical questions with regards to Google’s position as a search engine. Would Google down rank Amazon product pages in the SERP’s to get a better foothold on product visibility? Or, would they offer better search placement to third party retailers who offer to partner with the search giant for product sales? Google does have the right to do this in the United States, but they have not confirmed they are actually moving ahead with these plans at this time.
Ultimately, this would affect Amazon’s bottom line in sales, and position Google in a much better place to have their product highlighted above Amazon’s results. This is surely good news for Google Shareholders!
Are Amazon Shareholders at Risk?
Will Google take Amazon head on with it’s own eCommerce system? Go Google Buy Now!
Until now, Google has always ‘referred’ the search query made on Google to other websites for products, but they want to change that now. Why is this move happening now? What prompted Google to start looking at this type of service?
Amazon is already trying to fend off giants like Best Buy and Wal-Mart for the online shopping market share, and having Google jump into the mix wouldn’t help them any – especially their shareholders. First, as mentioned above, Google could slow their search for products by reducing visibility in the SERP’s, and second as mentioned by Panos Mourdoukoutas of Forbes, “it could fuel an online price war, which further squeezes Amazon’s already razor thin operating margins.”
Google doesn’t provide details, though executive chairman Eric Schmidt in October called Amazon the company’s “biggest search competitor.”
“Amazon is increasingly running away with online retail in North America, which poses a huge problem for Google,” said Jeremy Levine, an e-commerce investor at Bessemer Venture Partners. “Google has to get in front of this and create a reasonable alternative.
Facebook and Twitter are also currently exploring this type of platform inside their social networks to facilitate BUY options from advertisers.
By executing a strategy of this magnitude, Google could potentially steal a larger share of the online shopping audience now ruled by Amazon and change the online shopping marketplace landscape.
Latest posts by Rob May
- Setting Yourself Up For Social Media Amplification Success! - 12 January 2015
- Google Buy Now Button Changes the Game for Amazon - 19 December 2014
- Bing Releases the Three Pillars of Content Quality - 17 December 2014
- Facebook Launches New Tools to Help Pages Better Target Their Audiences - 12 December 2014
- A Guide to Developing Content Strategy – Part I - 26 November 2014