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Google Tipped To Deliver “Buy Now” Button Retailers Concerned

Google Tipped To Deliver "Buy Now" Button Retailers Concerned

Insiders are tipping that the new buy now button could be rolled out in beta form by the end of next month with a live demonstration presented at the Google I/O conference on the 28th or 29th of May.

The selective service will be exclusively available to mobile-based searches at launch – will appear online alongside paid search ads.

Although goods will still be shipped from third-party retailers customers clicking the ‘buy now’ buttons will be pushed through a series of Google-branded order pages.

A comprehensive report revealed by the Wall Street Journal has gone as far as to list prospective US retailers such as Macys who will trial the new service. 

The buttons will accompany sponsored-or paid-search results, often displayed under a “Shop on Google” heading at the top of the page. Buttons won’t appear with the nonsponsored results that are driven by Google’s basic search algorithm.

If shoppers click on the buy buttons, they will be taken to another Google product page to complete the purchase, insiders said

On that page, they will be able to pick sizes and colours and shipping options, as well as complete the purchase, one of the people said.

The products will still be provided and sold by retailers, distributors or manufacturers rather than by Google. 

Google won’t show buy buttons when shoppers search on desktop computers, and the company is only starting the beta program with a small percentage of the search traffic it handles.

The Wall Street Journal claims that move marks a major and potentially risky strategy shift that will turn the company into more of an online transactional business, rather than simply a provider of links to information elsewhere on the Internet.


Some retailers said they worry the move will turn Google from a valuable source of traffic into a marketplace where purchases happen on Google’s own websites. 

The retailers, who wouldn’t voice their concerns publicly, fear such a move will turn them into back-end order takers, weakening their relationships with shoppers.

Retailers currently send Google data feeds on the products they are selling online, and then pay Google when shoppers click through to their websites.

To mollify retailers’ concerns, Google will allow consumers to opt into the same marketing programs that they would be exposed to had they made the purchase on the retailers’ own websites, one of the people said. That means retailers will get address information and likely email addresses for future marketing efforts as long as shoppers opt in.

The product pages where Google handles the purchases will be heavily branded for the retailers selling the items, and any recommendations for other things to buy will only be from that merchant, one of the people said.

But Google will let shoppers input payment credentials such as credit-card numbers one time, and the company will store those and automatically load them for future purchases on its shopping pages.

Google has told retail partners that it is adding a buy button to reduce friction for users on mobile devices, increasing the chances that they will make a purchase, known as a “conversion” in the digital ad business, two of the people said.

This is a delicate balance for the company, and it is stressing to partners that shoppers will still belong to the retailer, rather than Google.

However retailers ChannelNews have spoken to claim that the service opens up the market for manufacturers and distributors to use the service bypassing the retailer. 

A Harvey Norman franchisee said “We are already seeing manufacturers and distributors selling products direct, this service could be a real risk if it delivers volume traffic that does not go through a traditional retailer”. 

“Both distributors and manufacturers in Australia are already set up to ship directly to consumers as they are currently doing this for existing retailers such as Harvey Norman so it will be very easy for them to take advantage of the new Google service”. 

Google can’t upset large retailers because they are among the largest spenders on the company’s search ads, according to a study last year by Ad Age and search marketing firm AdGooroo.

In the past, Google executives have tried to quell talk of an online marketplace, where consumers buy goods from a variety of merchants. However, the company has been slowly adding marketplace features that mimic Amazon, such as detailed product pages with reviews, better photos, specifications and prices.

Google told retailers last year that it was considering a buy button, sparking concern among some companies in the sector.