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Google’s “Buy Now” Button in Search Results: What it Means to Retailers

Google’s new “Buy Now” option, soon to be offered in its search results, and what it means to retailers

In a few weeks, you may notice your search results in Google showing up with a “Buy Now” button next to them. That’s right—Google is joining the likes of Amazon and eBay, allowing consumers to directly express their intent to buy. This change will only occur with sponsored, or paid, search results. (It should also be noted that this new option will begin being tested on only a small percentage of traffic and will only show up on mobile searches at first.) This is sure to start affecting the choices retailers make when choosing their online paid advertising strategy, so let’s break down the facts we do know about the upcoming change and look at the underlying impact.

How it works

Currently, you have your ad on Google, and when a customer clicks through, they go to your site to purchase the item. This new feature will allow the entire transaction to take place on Google pages.

Let’s play out a scenario: Susan is looking for a new pair of boots. She searches Google for “brown leather boots” and sees an ad for the exact boots she is looking for with a Buy Now button next to it. According to The Wall Street Journal, (http://www.wsj.com/article_email/can-google-outsell-amazon-and-ebay-1431...) she clicks the button and will be directed to a Google product page where she can pick the size, color, shopping option, and complete the purchase. This is then submitted to you, the retailer, who completes the transaction. After the payment is received by Google, it is passed onto the retailer; therefore, you’re still only paying for CPC. So what does Google get out of it? It gets access to customer information and payment history.

Its impact

The impact of this change will fluctuate greatly depending on how Google ends up presenting it. Some retailers fear the idea of people not being directed to their site, even with a branded Google page, can lead to less traffic, less time spent browsing their other products, and less control.

The argument that less traffic will be a result is a legitimate one. Since consumers will no longer need to go to your site, how can you influence them to purchase and keep your brand identity throughout the buying experience?

However, at the same time, Google is doing this to also make the consumer shopping journey easier. It is sometimes hard to navigate retailers’ sites, enter payment information, etc. while on a mobile phone. This option can give retailers who do not have the infrastructure available to process mobile transactions in the easiest manner, enabling them to attract more consumers.

The competition

This obviously puts Google in more direct competition with Amazon and eBay. While the two latter companies charge for transactions, Google is only charging for the click. What impact that has on the bottom line is dependent on the retailer and their bids. And while eBay doesn’t have as strong a retailer partnership, Amazon does. Your business will have a lot of options to choose from in the coming months.

The future

Testing will start soon, so for retailers, it’s important to stay abreast of these trends to understand how they can fit into your business plan.

What do you think about this new approach? Share your thoughts with me in the Comments section!