How Google is Helping Retailers Take on Amazon with its New Shopping Actions Programme

Google is the driving force underpinning much of what occurs online. Now the company is looking to offer a helping hand to ecommerce retailers with a new shopping initiative.

Today, Google – now named Alphabet – is a global technology company with more than 70,000 employees in 50 countries. The company has hundreds of products beyond its world-famous search engine, including YouTube, Android, and Smartbox. Alphabet has revenues of more than $90 billion, and sits at #27 on the Fortune 500.

Google Shopping Actions

With Amazon still dominating the online retail industry, Google was looking for a way to help the ecommerce behemoth’s competitors level the playing field, and the result is Google Shopping Actions.

Shopping Actions allows retailers to list their products across Google Search, the Google Express shopping centre, and on the Google Assistant smartphone and room assistant app. This means that no matter if a consumer is browsing products on mobile, desktop, or room assistant, they can experience a seamless shopping experience from Google’s services.

The room assistant segment of this service is particularly timely, given Amazon’s integration of its own shopping services with its Echo devices.

“Today’s consumers don’t just want answers,” said Google. “More and more, they’re craving relevant, meaningful, and immediate assistance in completing their day-to-day shopping tasks. We see this in our data – mobile searches for where to buy grew over 85% over the past two years. Moreover, 44% of those who use their voice-activated speaker at least weekly say they use the device to order products they need like groceries and household items at least once a week.”

Meaningful Partnerships

The new project is starting out with some heavyweight American brands in the bag already. Target, Walmart, Ulta Beauty, Costco, and Home Depot have all signed up to take advantage of Google Shopping Actions. Walmart and Target were already using Google’s voice search features to allow their customers to order products with phrases such as, “Order peanut butter from Walmart,” and Shopping Actions will only serve to expand these services.

The new initiative will give these brands the ability to offer services such as one-click reordering, personalised recommendations based on search history, and basket building. Brands also have the option of integrating their loyalty and reward schemes which can further inform personalised recommendations based on previous purchases.

Shopping Actions will operate under a pay-per-sale business model, and will only charge a commission on actual products sold. This is a significant departure from Google’s default pay-per-click setting (where businesses are charged every time a user interacts with an ad), and will reduce the risk of wasted revenue for brands who wish to get involved in the scheme.

“Our guests love the ease and convenience of making their Target run without lifting a finger by using voice interface,” said Target’s Chief Information and Digital Officer Mike McNamara, “Through our partnership, we’ll continue to add new benefits to help guests save time and money. Shoppers will soon be able to link their and Google accounts, creating a more personalised and intuitive shopping experience. And later this year, Target guests will be able to use Target’s REDcard when shopping through Google, providing 5% off purchases and free shipping.”

Final thoughts

Amazon’s position at the top of the e-commerce ladder is not one from which the giant will be easily shifted. However, Google’s new Shopping Actions programme will give other brands a chance to leverage its powerful internet search software to give themselves a fighting chance.

“It’s clear that people want helpful, personal, and frictionless interactions that allow them to shop wherever and however they want – from making decisions on what to buy, to building baskets, to checking out more quickly than ever before,” says Google. “Put simply, they want an easier way to get their shopping tasks done. That’s why we’re introducing our Shopping Actions programme. It gives customers an easy way to shop for your products on the Google Assistant and Search with a universal cart, whether they’re on mobile, desktop or even a Google Home device.”

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