It may be the middle of summer in the US, but retailers are already gearing up for Back to School season. Today, Google announced a series of new search features to help consumers easily shop both via mobile and in-stores.
In the next few weeks, Google will be testing a new feature called “Purchases on Google” that will allow you to buy products directly from the Google search result using payment credentials saved in your account.
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Google says in the past year, it’s seen a 115 percent increase in shopping searches on mobile globally.To help you shop on the go, it will let you use Google Voice for ‘conversational searches’ about products you might want to buy.
For example, asking for a review of a DSLR camera will bring up a Google card with the specs and ratings. To offer these results, retailers pay Google on a cost-per-click basis.
“This isn’t about cornering the market on measurement,” Google says, but about helping consumers “understand their purchases” better.
But of course, if you want to buy a DSLR, you might not know exactly which model is best for you. Now, you can also ask Google for the “best” product and it will bring up product suggestions.
Google’s example is ‘Best Sunscreen,’ but the idea is that you can use it for any category. It’s also deep linking these shopping ads so you can click once and be right at the product page when you’re ready to purchase.
Google Now is also updated to show price drops, and Google emphasized that these are not paid clicks.
When Android Pay becomes available later this year, the results will also support the check-out method. You can use it to pay for in-store purchases as well.
Last month, Google talked about the fastest growing categories of YouTube How To videos. Soon, advertisers can work with creators to link products used in their videos so users can buy directly. This should be helpful for fans of YouTube beauty vlogs who want to know where they can purchase products used in styling videos.
If you want to visit a retailer in person to check out a product, Google will also let you search local stores and check which items they have in stock.
While it has found some solutions for mobile, the company will use GPS data to figure out the shopping journey from seeing an ad online to making product searches to actually arriving in a store and whether you made a purchase. But it’s important to note that it is an opt-in feature.
Using this data, Google will provide retailers information on how to optimize their AdWords to help drive users from mobile to in-store purchases.
The new shopping features will arrive “soon,” likely in time for actual Back to School season.