Google’s Keynote at Catalyst 2015: An Increasingly Mobile World

April 1, 2015

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Catalyst kicked off it’s final day with a great keynote address from Google’s Director of Product Management for Shopping Search Vineet Buch.

Buch wasted no time in diving into what would be the word of the day: mobile.

Mobile is always on our minds, he said, and it should be. This little device is shaping our world as retailers and consumers. It’s exciting. It’s intimidating. Maybe it’s even a little scary to some retailers.

The bottom line, however, is that it’s important. And it’s the future.

Buch says mobile will continue to “connect” us, “assist” us and “delight” us.

Connectivity is a theme that has popped up throughout Catalyst. The world is growing smaller as more people around the world are connected through multiple devices. By 2020, Buch says, there will be 7.6 billion internet users, 6 billion smartphone users and 32 billion connected devices.

And like Doug Stephens covered in his keynote on Tuesday, Buch notes that this trend means more useful data for retailers. The effective use of data science to solve big problems is still in its early days, but hopefully it’ll become more embedded in retailers’ lives. He calls it a “toothbrush test.” As in, how long before using big data analytics becomes just another part of our daily routine?

Despite the strong growth of mobile, however, Buch feels that the process of mobile shopping is still “broken” and not as efficient as it should be. Consumers find it difficult. For example, there are usually way too many steps to complete a simple checkout.

For retailers, this means approaching mobile first. Conceive of your app or website with mobile at the forefront of your strategy. What do consumers want to see? How can you make your site better? How can you make the check-out process “frictionless?”

Additionally, there are many ways that retailers can utilize Google’s products to better connect with their potential customers. Things like increasing the perception of your brand (with the Trusted Stores badge), promoting local inventory, unlocking insights of your customer’s purchase path (with the Estimated Total Conversions feature), measuring trends (with Auction Insights) and more.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet for capturing a modern consumer. The trick is just keeping up with where consumers will be next and adjusting your cross-device strategies accordingly.

The simple truth is that more and more consumers are online searching for products, and they’re increasingly doing it from a device in the palm of their hands.

Buch’s final words sum it up nicely: “Shoppers don’t go online anymore. They live online”


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