Google updates Shopping features to compete with Amazon
Product makers can now sign up for the Google Manufacturer Center, a free tool that allows manufacturers to upload their own product information, which Google's "shopping" search results will then favor as consumers are conducting shopping searches.
On the Google Manufacturer Center sign-up page, the company claims, “On average, brands who manage their product information with Manufacturer Center realize 8% more impressions and 10% more clicks.”
Last year, we started to see some evidence suggesting that Google Shopping had turned a corner in its ongoing campaign for relevance in a retail world dominated by Amazon. During the first quarter of 2016, for example, Google Shopping clicks and orders each increased by 171%, with return on advertising spending up by 23%. Also, Google Shopping click growth reached 98% year over year, and mobile impressions increased 130% in that period.
More recently, retailer spending on Google Shopping display ads surpassed spending on text ads for the first time in 2016, according to marketing research firm Sidecar. The same research found that mobile devices drove 29% of total Google Shopping revenues in 2016, up from 17% in 2015.
Still, Google is losing the shopping search battle against Amazon. A survey commissioned by Bloomreach last year year showed that 55% of shoppers used Amazon as their first shopping search resource when searching for products online. The same survey found Google's share of first shopping searches to be on the decline. A more recent study from UPS found something similar, though in a lower percentage, with 29% of 5,000 shoppers surveyed saying they turn to Amazon first, according to a Business Insider story on the study.
In the age of personalization, when consumers are ready to shop, they are turning more often to the marketplaces like Amazon that have collected customer data to help them deliver more insightful product recommendations and information to those consumers, making the shopping journey easier for them. Google's new upgrade means product information returned in shopping searches should be more accurate and more pertinent. Well, that's a start.