As of the middle of this month, search engine giant has released Google Shopping into the New Zealand market place. But what does it mean for local retailers?
The service works via vendors paying Google to have their products featured. This allows searches to be matched by Google, with the option to carry on to any selected third party website where the featured item is held, significantly cutting down time and making finding specific items easier.
The listed products in a Google search are influenced by relevance and the amount the vendor pays.
Google Shopping was introduced in the US in 2012, then Australia in 2013.
The move hinders the market of sites like Amazon and Ebay. Each search for any specific item will be bought up, removing the need for curating sites. Then the user will be given the opportunity to go to that third party website and purchase the featured item.
For each search, Google will show you images, prices and merchants of each specific item, giving you the option of multiple sites to choose from.
Google profits on the vendors paying to have their items featured, rather than through a revenue commission when something is sold.
Cam Wilkes, general manager of Pure SEO, says his company was included in the Google Shopping Beta programme that started last September.
“We had a number of clients who had great results over the Christmas period due to the Shopping ads we were running.”
Wilkes expresses that the introduction of this shopper gives New Zealand retailers more opportunity for traffic and exposure.
“Retailers selling online need to be looking at accessing their longer term results from their initial ad spend than a lot of them currently are. International retailers now also have another channel in which to target New Zealand consumers which is another reason for New Zealand retailers who are not yet taking full advantage of online advertising to start upping their game.”
According to Wilkes, StatCounter shows that Google holds close to 95 percent search engine market share here in New Zealand, and Bing comes in second at just over 3%.
“The problem with most smaller retailers (and even some of the bigger ones) is that they focus the majority of their energy on the front end sale and justify advertising budgets off this.”
Despite claims that the search engine is going to hinder certain smaller retailers who may fail to keep up with the trend, Wilkes has a positive outlook for the shopper even though buy and sell websites will be concerned about its impending arrival.
“It does however depend a lot on what your product is and how competitive your price points are. The fact that the searcher gets to see the product and price before clicking leads to higher conversion rates.”
Experts also warned that although Google isn’t taking a cut of the sales revenue, retailers may miss out on important consumer data when a purchase is made.
But Google has stressed to retailers that shoppers will still belong to them, not Google, and that the service will increase mobile sales now that so much customer traffic comes from there.
Cam Wilkes doesn’t see the inclusion of another curation site as a problem to individual stockists, but in fact believes the opposite is likely to happen.
“The aim of the consumer on these sites is to find the best price for the product they’re after – with Google shopping, they’ve got the answer without having to leave the search results page.”
“With yet another channel exposing customers to brands and products, the importance of the back end sales funnels marketing to existing customers is more important now than ever," says Wilkes.