Is Google Shopping Making a Move to the Marketplace?

Feb 18, 2013 11:55 AM  By

Google has made two announcements in February that leads to speculation that it will try to make Google Shopping a cross-device comparison shopping engine and a full-fledged ecommerce marketplace.

First, on its “Inside AdWords” blog, Google announced enhanced AdWords campaigns, with the intent of making search results more relevant based on the time of day, the searcher’s location and the type of device searchers are on.

Enhanced campaigns, which are scheduled to fully roll out in June, should be huge for retailers with bricks-and-mortar locations. It represents advanced geotargeting and should give those retailers the opportunity to cash in on mobile search.

Google said the enhanced campaigns help merchants target people with the right ads, based on their context like location, time of day and device type, across all devices without having to set up and manage several separate campaigns.

In the blog post, Google senior vice president of engineering Sridhar Ramaswamy wrote that its August study of multi-device customers found that 90% move sequentially between several screens to accomplish a task.

With enhanced campaigns, instead of having to cobble together and compare several separate campaigns, reports and ad extensions to do this, a merchant can manage all of this in one single place, Ramaswamy wrote in the blog post.

Of note, Google will roll up tablet campaigns under desktop campaigns, since its research suggests 79% of tablet owners use them at home.

Rumor has it, Google will transition itself from a comparison shopping engine to an ecommerce marketplace, and compete directly against Amazon, eBay and others.

This rumor has been heard many times since Google’s 2002 introduction of “Froogle,” and the $125 million acquisition of ecommerce data firm Channel Intelligence earlier this month has the industry on its toes again.

According to Mashable, the deal “is part of an ongoing effort to improve on the Google Shopping experience” and could “provide sellers with better tools to manage and market their products across the web.”

“Within the context of Google’s mixed efforts in e-commerce and their increasing friction with Amazon, Channel Intelligence offers Google one strategic thing that it desperately needs to even hold its ground against Amazon: transactional data,” wrote Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor, on the company’s CSE Strategies blog.

In a very brief statement, Channel Intelligence wrote, “For over ten years, we have focused on making it easy for consumers to find and buy products online and help our clients grow their business. We’ve worked with Google for years, and look forward to the great things we will be able to do together.

Although there is no mention of the deal on Google’s site, in an email to Mashable, Google wrote, “We want to help consumers save time and money by improving the online shopping experience…We think Channel Intelligence will help create a better shopping experience for users and help merchants increase sales across the web.”