Google Continues Evolving Shopping Experience

May 31, 2013 2:57 PM  By

Google is steadily making changes to its online shopping experience for consumers.  In just a few months, the search engine has made several announcements in order to compete with the likes of Amazon and its brands.

“Google has been the sleeping giant with ecommerce,” said Scot Wingo, CEO and co-founder of ChannelAdvisor in a phone interview.

Wingo said what has happened is that Google has been fighting a lot of fronts, such as the inception of Facebook and the use of mobile. 

“What is pretty clear, buying something on Amazon is just a better experience than Google,” said Wingo.  “They are playing a lot of catch-up here to close the gap.” 

In May, Google announced they would be retiring Google Checkout in November, as the company transitions to Google Wallet, a platform enabling merchants to meet demands of a multi-screen world where consumers shop in-store, as their desks and on their mobile devices.   

According to Wingo, the two biggest changes Google has made began last fall when Google transitioned from its Google product search to a paid model and remodeled it as Google Shopping. 

“That has been the biggest change,” said Wingo. “That took a lot of retailers by surprise.” 

What is interesting said Wingo, is now Google has been making investments in Google Shopping Express.

“It’s a good first step, but still on Amazon it is a better shopping experience, I think there is a big gap there,” said Wingo.  “On Amazon you know you are buying from.” 

Wingo said when looking at the Google shopping experience, it’s a good start, but Google still has to have a marketplace type of model.

In March, Google announced same-day delivery known as Google Shopping Express on the West Coast in the San Francisco area. Consumers in the San Francisco area can order items online from nine big retailers when using the Google service. 

Some of the big retailers include Target, Walgreens and Office Depot and consumers can schedule to have their items delivered later the same day. 

Mashable.com reported in late May, Google would be expanding its Shopping Express to the entire Bay area.  This would fill out many of the suburban areas outside of San Francisco. 

Google also announced in May that Google Wallet would be coming to Gmail, in a video by Google.According to Mashable, Google Wallet was introduced in 2011, but didn’t make it to the mainstream due to consumer resistance to mobile-based transactions and the lack of awareness and retail deployment. Google is using Gmail to help further the technology’s acceptance.

According to a blog post by Google, they announced two enhancements to the Google Wallet Platform – the Instant Buy API, which enables merchants to offer a fast buying experience to Google Wallet shoppers buying physical good and services on their Android applications and websites, while processing their own payments.

Google followed up with an announcement they were revamping their shopping experience through analytics by partnering with STELLAService, according to an article by Multichannel Merchant.

STELLAService will allow consumers to access ratings and reviews of various online retailers.  Google will pay STELLAService to license their ratings in order for shoppers to gain as much information possible about a retailer of choice, according to the article. It uses analytic tools that measures and rates “the end-to-end service experience across support channels,  including phone, email chat and Twitter as well as shipping, returns and refunds” of retailers.

“On Amazon you have integrated feedback with third parties.  It is a valid attempt, until they close the loop, I don’t think they will find it as a valid experience as they do on Amazon,” said Wingo of the STELLAService partnership.