Google shopping changes are an investment not a cost

Google made some significant changes to the way its shopping search results work last week and the impact on retailers will be significant.

Rosie

Retailers can no longer receive free product listings in shopping search results, which means that they could be missing out on a lot of sales if they don’t make full use of the new paid-for services.

Changes are being phased in now and by June, if you’re not paying for Google Product Listing Ads alongside AdWords, your products will not appear in the results.

Google says the changes will make online shopping easier for customers making product comparisons and research easier.

The change also cleans up the way shopping search results are displayed on Google and provides shoppers with more options to refine the results.

It’s already been launched in the US and while there has been criticism of the changes, in the long run retailers are set to benefit.

Retailers will be required to provide Google more accurate data in terms of product descriptions and pricing so shoppers will receive more accurate information when they search. For retailers it means better click-through rates and better conversion.

If the results shoppers are served when they are searching are better, the quality of traffic arriving at a retailer’s site is going to be better, which will inevitably result in more engaged shoppers and more sales.

The boost will not only be to online sales. As more shoppers are using mobile devices to search for products while they are in stores, up to date price and availability information is essential.

It’s not new that consumers are doing research online before making purchases, but recent research by LivePerson found as many as 78 per cent of people research online before shopping in-store.

The same report found that 50 per cent of people often buy more online than they planned, showing that impulse purchases are not confined to the high street and giving yet more reasons to have the best online optimisation and shopping results possible.

While the shift could have a significant cost implication for retailers, particularly smaller retailers who relied on the free listings provided previously, the changes to Google’s shopping results will give much stronger results. The evolution of Google’s services will have an impact on retailers’ results whether they choose to embrace the change or not, but retailers set to benefit are those who see these changes as an investment, rather than a cost.

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