Google Looking to Centralize the Shopping Experience
A new experiment by Google on their shopping ads could signal a major shift in where search results will be driving users to. While updates to their shopping algorithm are nothing new, this particular one, as outline by RKG, shows that this one is more focused on brand searches and how they are categorized and presented.
As demonstrated above in Figure 1, a search for women’s clothing retailer Anthropologie shows the usual results when typing in brands as queries. However, Google is now making its own Shopping tab much more prominent in the sidebar. As a retailer that offers different items, the sidebar shows different product categories being offered by Anthropologie. When a user chooses one of these product categories (such as “dresses” in Figure 2 below), they are taken to a Google Shopping results page directly.
While still considered an experiment by RKG, this is both an interesting and problematic development for Google Shopping should it push forward. A central shopping hub would indeed make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for, and the product categories do filter out products right away. User experience always comes first, and has proven to be more effective than sitelinks and text.
On the other hand, one would assume that when searching for a particular retailer or product specific to that retailer, searchers would be taken to an official website. If everything is centralized within Google Shopping, that would also mean the potential loss for website interaction and engagement. It would be difficult for businesses to gauge how many people have visited their website when all their results are going to Google Shopping.
Though this move certainly would provide a better user experience, there are still retailers that prefer a more hands-on approach with what products get shown on their site. As RKG noted, Anthopologie had no control over the results shown above in Figure 2, or the categories that were generated in Figure 1.
Should Google make use of this new feature, it would also mean advertisers paying for more traffic due to lower than average CPCs from brand keywords. RKG also believes that the future could very well be Google establishing itself as a true marketplace, as well as a direct competitor to Amazon.
What do you think of this possible new feature from Google? Let us know how it might affect businesses in the Comments below.
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