Google is going to hop on the buy button bandwagon, but will the tech giant be able to become an online marketplace like Amazon?
In a move to increase its retail search traffic and advertising revenue, Google is going to add buy buttons to its search results pages on mobile devices.
The buttons will show up in paid search results under a “Shop on Google” heading at the top of a page. They won’t appear in the unpaid results or when users look for products on desktop.
When shoppers click on the buy buttons, they will be directed to a product page on Google where they can choose product sizes and colors as well as complete the purchase. If consumers opt in, Google will store credit card information and automatically load it for future transactions.
Google’s move to buy buttons seems natural most industry insiders, according to Dave Ragals, global managing director of search at IgnitionOne, a digital marketing technology company. “It’s hardly a surprise,” Ragals says. “As mobile continues to grow, it’s the right place for Google to start expanding. Specifically, for mobile in retail, Google is still at a disadvantage in comparison to Amazon. On Amazon, eBay or Esty, consumers can search and buy all in one place, which is something that Google hasn’t offered before.”
It seems Google is positioning itself to be an online marketplace like Amazon by allowing shoppers to save their payment information and facilitating the buying process. But one hurdle here, according to Ragals, is how Google is going to manage consumer needs after purchases, such as product returns.
“The true question is how Google will maintain the relationships with consumers post-purchase,” Ragals says. What’s Google’s policy going to be? And how involved is Google going to be with retailers in that process? I don’t think Google can become a centralized marketplace without addressing these questions.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that Google will still be paid by retailers through its existing advertising model, rather than charging part of the sales price as Amazon does.
As an online marketplace, Amazon handles all consumer transactions and is responsible for all purchases and returns. In that sense, they are providing significant value for what they are charging, but Google isn’t yet equipped to adopt a similar model, according to industry participants.
Ragals doesn’t think Google is going to switch from its existing advertising model to Amazon’s model anytime soon.
“Essentially, Google can create revenue by building a significant presence in the retail search business as well as gaining advertising dollars and users’ purchase data in its system,” he adds.
Google is not the first technology company that is tapping into buy buttons. Last year, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram also experimented with this functionality.
“It’s a logical next step when they put ideas and products in front of people. If you really like something on Pinterest and want to buy it, Pinterest doesn’t want you to go to Amazon or Google,” Ragals notes. “By adding buy buttons, those platforms can keep users in their own garden and make them buy through its own system.”
This article was originally published on Search Engine Watch.