Although the online world may be coming increasingly to dominate our everyday lives, a study by eMarketer shows that nine out of ten sales are still made offline and on the spot. Factors like being able to experience products 'live' and compare them with other products in the shops should not be underestimated; and customers have sales staff they can talk to if they need specific advice or personal service.
On the other hand, there is no denying people are buying more and more things online as well as offline. According to Google, around two-thirds of all smartphone users use their devices to find out more about specific products. Around half of all users combine search with location functions, to get even better, more targeted results. And around one third of all searches lead to people actually buying things in actual shops.
Google was quick to recognise this trend, and presents itself as your digital shopping assistant. Google Shopping provides a good overview of different suppliers, and also provides a wide range of options for filtering and comparison. You can filter electronics products by sub-categories or see detailed 3D product images; and search results also show other similar products customers might be interested in.
Google Shopping also lets shoppers use Google Maps to find nearby what they're looking for. If a user starts searching for Ralph Lauren t-shirts, for example, as well as being able to order them online, they will also be shown actual shops nearby selling them.
Selecting the right vendor is another important criterion Google is currently trying to improve, which was why it launched its "Google Certified & Protected" seal. This is only awarded to vendors who can guarantee they offer customers certain services, like delivering fast and on time or handling returns simply and without objection.
To make buying even simpler, Google also launched the Wallet Instant Buy system. This lets customers post their payment details in the cloud, so they don't need to re-enter it each time they buy anything. A "Buy with Google" button is then added to the checkout process when paying at an online shop. If a user presses it, all the data they need to make their purchase is inserted, shortening the checkout process considerably. This new tool is designed to minimise the large number of purchases which are aborted at the closing stages.
Short innovation cycles mean shop operators have a job always staying on the ball. Precisely when it comes to Google Shopping, you need years of expertise and special tools to optimise feeds and analyse data in order to get the best results for your shop.