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What is Google Shopping? Why Retailers Should Pay Attention

Google and Amazon are locked in a battle for product search dominance which is both an opportunity and threat to other retailers.

When someone wants to research something, they start on Google. When they want to buy something, they start on Amazon. Since Google’s core business is based on search advertising revenue, this behavior presents a real threat to Google’s otherwise search dominance. To regain ground in product search, Google appears to be upping the ante with Google Shopping and waiting for shoppers to take notice. So what is Google Shopping? What competitive threat does Google Shopping pose to Amazon? What opportunities does it present to retailers and brands?

Google Shopping: One Big Marketplace

Previously known as Google Product Search, Google Shopping is a service that lets consumers search for products, compare prices, and buy from marketplace sellers. Since its transformation in 2012, third-party sellers now pay to have their products appear in these listings and can also advertise with Google Shopping campaigns. While Google does not sell products directly, Google Shopping is one big marketplace, prepared to compete with Amazon and its’ marketplace.

The battle for retail search dominance doesn’t come without its challenges, however. 84% of shoppers anticipate to start their holiday shopping on Amazon, and Walmart has improved its own ecommerce game with the recent Jet.com acquisition. How Google chooses to reassert its product search dominance with Google Shopping may be the determining factor.

Marketplace Sellers Influencing Price Perception

In a recent study by 360pi, research revealed that marketplace sellers on Google Shopping offered a lower price than Amazon on a sample of 750 of Amazon’s own Best Sellers — 59% of the time relative to Amazon proper and 58% relative to Amazon marketplace sellers. In fact, it was found that Amazon out-priced Google Shopping only 25% of the time on the sampled assortment.

With Google Shopping’s marketplace adding to the price competition, consumers are given the means to search for better deals outside of Amazon right at their fingertips. However, while this opens up beneficial opportunities for shoppers, due diligence is still needed when seeking deals from marketplace sellers — the wild west of ecommerce.

Opportunities for Retailers and Brands

With heightened competition between Google and Amazon, now may be the time for retailers and brands to focus efforts on figuring out how to best leverage marketplaces in their online retail strategies. As the “go-to” search engine for everything else, Google has ample opportunity to co-opt product search. Savvy retailers and brands know it is premature to count Google Shopping out of their online strategies. Whether it be selling products on either Amazon’s marketplace or Google Shopping (or both!).

However, until consumers start to move away from Amazon as their primary source for product searches, Google may have a long battle ahead of them. For real-time insight into sellers, products, and prices offered by Amazon, Google Shopping, and other retail marketplaces, contact 360pi.

To receive additional valuable retail insights this holiday season, subscribe to 360pi’s annual Holiday Insights 2016.

About the Author
360pi derives profitable insights from product and pricing big data to help leading omnichannel retailers, etailers, and manufacturers compete and win in a price transparent world. 360pi's customer base accounts for over $US100 billion in annual retail sales and includes Ace Hardware, Build.com, Overstock.com, and RIS Fusion award-winner Best Buy Canada. 360pi monitors millions of products with unprecedented accuracy to give retailers and manufacturers real-time visibility into the market with full awareness of the competitive pricing landscape to "right price" to their respective customers. Ultimately, 360pi helps customers make smarter pricing decisions to drive increased revenues and margins.