Could Google outsell Amazon and eBay? That’s the headline on a Wall Street Journal story this week about the search giant’s plan to add buy buttons to mobile search hits soon.
“The buttons will accompany sponsored—or paid—search results, often displayed under a ‘Shop on Google’ heading at the top of the page,” notes the story by Alistair Barr and Rolfe Winkler. “Buttons won’t appear with the nonsponsored results that are driven by Google’s basic search algorithm.”
Reportedly, shoppers who click a buy button will be taken to another Google product page where they can finalize a purchase.
Google won’t inventory anything, but serve as another avenue for quick purchases conducted via mobile.
The Google buy button move only applies to mobile traffic. Shoppers on desktop will not notice a change.
Is this good or bad for retailers?
“Some retailers said they worry the move will turn Google from a valuable source of traffic into a marketplace where purchases happen on Google’s own websites,” notes the WSJ story. “The retailers, who wouldn’t voice their concerns publicly, fear such a move will turn them into back-end order takers, weakening their relationships with shoppers.”
Google can’t be too brusque. It still plans to provide the same data to retailers they obtain from purchases made on their own sites. But Google will let consumers store payment information, so it can be auto-loaded for future purchases — a necessity on mobile with its small screen that makes error-free inputs more difficult. Payment options will be various, including many digital forms.
“In the past, Google executives have tried to quell talk of an online marketplace, where consumers buy goods from a variety of merchants,” says WSJ. “However, the company has been slowly adding marketplace features that mimic Amazon, such as detailed product pages with reviews, better photos, specifications and prices.”
Can Google get a piece of this action without jeopardizing the advertising deals it already has with retailers? We’ll see soon if retailers will buy what Google is selling.