Google sets up shop in India
Google is expanding its Google Shopping capabilities into India, where consumers will be able to search through multiple channels for products from a range of retailers, reportedly including the country's two biggest e-commerce players — Flipkart and Amazon.
Indian consumers will be able find products through a "made-to-browse" shopping experience on a Google Shopping home page, via a new mobile progressive web app, through a Shopping tab on the Google search engine or the Google Lens visual search tool, the company stated in a blog post.
While Google's Merchant Center capabilities have been available only in English thus far, the company said it's adding the ability for retailers to upload product details in Hindi to potentially reach millions of more users.
Google's blog post did not mention specific retailers participating at the outset of the India launch, though a CNN Business report said Flipkart and Amazon products would be discoverable through the capability. Though the involvement of Walmart-backed Flipkart is not much of a surprise (Walmart has been a key partner in Google's shopping aspirations for some time) the involvement of Amazon is more intriguing.
Amazon hasn't always participated in Google Shopping, and briefly stopped its Shopping ad campaigns this past spring, according to Search Engine Land. However, Amazon and Google have appeared to be on friendlier terms recently, as Amazon has again started selling the Google Chromecast, and reportedly has been ramping up its Google Shopping participation as well.
Meanwhile, Google is following in Amazon's footsteps in India by enabling merchants and retailers to support Hindi product pages. Amazon launched a Hindi shopping site earlier this year, becoming the only e-commerce company serving India with such a site. Both giants appear to believe their shopping services have greater potential to reach more Indian consumers by expanding into Hindi, which approximately 40% of Indian citizen claim as their first language.
While the big names tend to attract the most attention, Google may be aiming for a different target — the millions of smaller merchants in India, most of whom don't have their own retail presence online. Google can help them reach the roughly 400 million Indian consumers online. Only about of third of that market engages in e-commerce, but Google is betting that more of them will want to if they have more options.