The Evolution of Google Shopping (and Introduction of Google Shopping Actions)

Google recently announced Shopping Actions, but what are Google Shopping Actions and how does this program differ from Google Shopping? In order to understand this newest innovation from Google, you need to take a step back and look at how Google got here.

Google has long been the dominant player in search, but we sometimes forget that Google’s search results didn’t always include products, at least not in the way you would recognize them today.

Google’s roots are heavily tied to keywords and keyword-based advertising, but Google also noticed early on that people weren’t just searching for information, they were searching for products. In 2002, Google launched Froogle, which was designed to be an e-commerce search comparison tool, and Froogle evolved over the next five years. In 2007, Google renamed the service Google Product Search, but it was still free to list items. Fast forward another five years to 2012, and Google transitioned the program to a paid listing model and changed the name to Google Shopping.

As consumer behavior continued to evolve — and consumers wanted to discover, research and buy their products in a single, seamless way — Google focused on enhancing the product discovery and information gathering process, as well as the overall shopping experience.

Focus on Delivery

In 2013 Google launched Google Shopping Express, which was originally designed as a same-day delivery platform and allowed Google to work on improving the delivery process. In conjunction with this initiative, Google also wanted to continue improving the mobile search checkout experience.

In 2015 Google announced a Purchases on Google pilot that allowed users to click on a Google Shopping ad from a mobile device and check-out directly on Google. While there were still improvements to be made (like purchasing items from more than one store at a time), Google managed to create an experience that felt a lot closer to a one-click checkout process.

Google Shopping Actions

Google spent the next few years continuing to optimize the consumer shopping experience, which meant simplifying and consolidating the consumer buying journey with the product delivery process.

The outcome? Google Shopping Actions.

The new program allows retailers and brands to surface their inventory via Search, Google Express and the Google Assistant and lets consumers shop for products across multiple retailers and multiple Google surfaces — on mobile, desktop or Google Home — with a universal cart.

Shopping Actions lets consumers shop for products “whenever and however they want — from making decisions on what to buy, to building baskets, to checking out more quickly than before” according to Google.

It’s important to note that Shopping Actions deviates from Google Shopping’s traditional model of cost-per-click-based advertising, instead charging a commision for each transaction that occurs. Shopping Actions has a few other notable differences. Even though traffic isn’t being sent to your website, Google does offer a branded store experience on Google Express.

Shopping Actions also allows the customer to opt-in to marketing from each retailer during the checkout process. And since Google understands consumers’ shopping behavior across different surfaces, it can make reordering across multiple surfaces (especially the Google Assistant) a more intuitive and frictionless experience. Both of these strategies offer key opportunities to retailers and brands to potentially lower customer acquisition cost and increase customer lifetime value.

And the program is already seeing great results for sellers, according to Google.

  • Early testing indicates that participating retailers see an increase in total conversions at a lower cost on average, compared to running Shopping ads alone.
  • Basket size for merchants participating in Shopping Actions has increased by approximately 30% on average.

If you’re ready to get started, there are just a few things you need to know:

  • Shopping Actions is powered by the same feed you send for Google Shopping with a few new fields added.
  • The program is currently only available for select categories and requires Google’s approval to participate.
  • An integration to Google’s Orders API is required.

Get Started Now

Shopping Actions will definitely be a growing focus for Google and for retailers looking for ways to capture product discovery. For more information on how to get started with Shopping Actions, complete this form now and a ChannelAdvisor E-Commerce Consultant will be in touch soon.

Register for our Upcoming Webinar

Join us on Wednesday, May 23 at 1 p.m. EDT for The Google Shopping Actions Advantage, a webinar co-hosted by ChannelAdvisor and Google that will show you how to take advantage of this exciting new program.

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