Now more than ever, Google is redefining itself as a results engine more than a search engine. Finding the answers you need directly in the search results before clicking into a website is more and more common. Instead of being the place to find the websites that will answer your questions, Google is finished being the middle man and is serving up the answers you need before you click away from the results. A quick search proves this –
(Note: This past weekend, The Goonies celebrated its 30th birthday, do you feel old?)
With that in mind, Google’s Omid Kordestani has recently announced that a “Buy Button” is imminent for their Product Listing Advertisements (PLAs). This feature is going to provide you (the consumer) with the opportunity to buy directly from the search results page before ever going to a retailer site. IMO – this can be a potential double-edged sword for online retailers.
Price shopping will now be instantaneous and if you have the best price point, you may find your products doing very well from the addition of a “Buy Now” button. Seeing a “Buy Button” conversion in your analytics will allow you to test different product descriptions, shipping discounts, and product pictures to see which are converting the best. Google is not purchasing products or inventory to sell them directly on the platform. All product orders will be filled and shipped from the retailer, Google will just be cutting down consumer time milling around a retailer site.
For retailers, that milling around on-site, I just mentioned is what drives a lot of secondary sales. I can’t count how many times I have spent more than what I had planned on, in order to reach free shipping or an additional discount. In theory, you may see those secondary sales plummet depending on what other elements are included on the purchase page. Google may take a page out of Amazon’s playbook and recommend additional products to purchase.
Also, what information from those sales will Google provide to the retailers, besides key sales info – name, address and so on? If Google decides to add a metric showing what query was searched to have your products bought instantly, that would be a huge plus but for now until we know that will be a con.
(Note: Image above is just a mockup of what Google’s Buy Now Button could look like, official images are TBD).
I don’t see this as Google trying to cut out eBay or Amazon in the purchasing space unless they make it so that they could not participate in “buy now” ads, which I predict won’t be the case. I can see Google integrating Wallet or the new Android Pay into the instant online purchasing. Especially since Wallet may be in for a revamp, making yet another Google product mandatory for people to use to access a Google Product. (Think: mandatory Google+ Business pages in order to show up on Google Maps).
Without the feature being released and few real insights from the leads at Google, I can imagine marketing teams are eagerly chomping at the bit to see how this is going to affect their clients. Do you feel like total conversions will suffer from the instant purchasing power of a “Buy Now” button or will this only help improve PLA campaign success.