It’s no secret that Google and Amazon go head-to-head in a variety of venues—including online shopping. The search engine company is now poised to more directly compete with the retailer. Google has approached several retailers about creating a “buy” button for its shopping sites.
Rivaling Amazon’s ordering tools.The buy button would rival Amazon’s “one click ordering” available on its e-commerce site. Unlike Amazon’s button, Google’s would be part of the search engine results for items or available on independent retailer websites. Ideally, it seems, Google would like to make a seamless shopping experience within the search engine page.
At this time, Google Shopping search engine results (at http://shopping.google.com) have referred searchers to merchant websites. But there’s increasing evidence that Google would like to keep searchers on the results page and not send them elsewhere.
This makes sense from Google’s and advertisers’ points of view.By keeping shoppers on the Google Shopping site, searchers can price compare across several retailers and order directly from the site. It also exposes the shoppers to paid advertising—which composes a large portion of Google’s overall profits. According to former Google employees, product searches represent the most lucrative category for their $50-billion-plus advertising business. Although Google doesn’t provide details, Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt has called Amazon the company’s “biggest search competitor.”
Encouraging easier, quicker purchases.Although Google might not pursue the “buy now” button plan, people familiar with the matter said that retailers approached seemed to be agreeable to the button option. Web retailers often fear price competition, and if the “buy” button were available on the search engine results, it would encourage shoppers to buy immediately.
A Google spokeswoman, when asked about the “buy now” button, stated that, “we continuously explore and test many ideas for improving the experience for consumers. We don’t have anything to announce.”
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Peter Koeppel is president of Koeppel Direct.