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January 26, 2017

Google Buy Button: Will it Impact Ecommerce?

By Special Guest
Stephanie Nelson, manager, Soccer and Rugby Imports

In attempts to combat the smooth navigation and high conversion rates of e-commerce giant Amazon, Google introduced the Google Buy button on July 15, 2015. Also known as “Purchases on Google” the new service eliminates steps in the buying process and invites mobile users to start purchasing from their mobile or desktop. Google Buy may be a boon for entrenched e-commerce marketers who have been particularly disappointed by Google’s lackluster conversion rates on search engine ads. However, smaller e-commerce stores will need to become Google Trusted stores if they ever hope to rank among the rest - increasing their barriers to entry with the tradeoff of a more seamless shopping experience. 

Making Shopping Better
You may remember how excruciatingly long the process was to check-out on the first online e-commerce websites. Shoppers were still hesitant about providing their credit card information online; furthermore, a purchase was made through a long multi-step process that involved Confirmation, Selection, Credit Card Information, Address Information, and finally, Review. It was tedious. It took five to ten minutes. 

If you look at the Amazon checkout process now, one is able to make quick purchases through no more than 3 clicks of a button (provided they have your credit card information on file). Amazon has enhanced the user experience, allowing individuals to purchase an item between 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

Google wants to replicate this. 

Enter Google Buy
With this move, Google hopes to trim the fat, eliminating the friction from the buying experience. As a result, eliminating these unnecessary steps will increasing the conversion rates on behalf of retailers - prompting them to spend more money on advertisements with Google. Pretty smart, eh? 

And if you think about it, the move makes sense. The best kind of technology is the one where the user need interact with the digital world as little as possible in order to see results in the physical world. The best kind of technology is one where you slap your head and say to a friend “Well duh, they should have thought of this ages ago!” 

Google Buy Button Explained
The button isn’t so much a button as it is “more shopping friendly navigation.” You can take a look at how it works in a quick .gif file on Google’s site, available here. The updated navigation allows mobile searchers to search and buy directly through Google without having to pull out a credit card or go to third party sites, then navigate through their checkout process. Google Trusted Stores have their products listed on the front page. Users can slide through products and do their price comparison without ever leaving this page. Through integration with Google Wallet and PayPal, Google will store your payment information and let you check out in less than 15 seconds!

Buyable Pictures 
The concept of buyable pictures will be introduced by Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in order to eliminate steps in the buying process. This, of course, will lead to more impulse buys. A good example of a leader to follow in this respect is Pinterest, which rolled out their buyable pin options on June 30th. 

Final Thoughts: The Rich Get Richer, the Poor Get Poorer
Without question, big retailers and online vendors are excited about this recent development. But the poorer and smaller companies that don’t have the budget to become Google Trusted stores will most likely get nowhere near the fabled front page; that promised land is reserved for Google’s top paying customers only. In a way, the company is letting the strong get stronger while the weak continue to get weaker - relegated to the back pages of search engine results. Google realizes that in order to make information accessible to all, it will have to scramble a few eggs in the process. By creating better UX and UI (through continuous development updates) Google is helping the consumer at the price of hurting small businesses, who cannot keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the digital world. Ultimately, the Google Buy button will be a boon for vendors, marketers, and agencies, but a curse for brick and mortar businesses that got a late start in the digital sphere. 

About the Author: Stephanie Nelson is a manager at Soccer and Rugby Imports, an online retailer that carries soccer and rugby gear. Soccer and Rugby Imports has been in business since 1993 and continues its mission of promoting the beautiful game. Stephanie has been with the sports apparel and equipment company for 5 years. When she’s not running the store, Stephanie loves playing soccer, cooking new recipes, and visiting new restaurants in town.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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