Google’s Christmas present to retailers this year are “buy buttons.” —
“A nagging issue for online retailers paying for PLAs is conversion—getting someone who clicked on a product image to complete the purchase. Google is positioning the experiment as a way to help retailers fix that by reducing the number of steps between viewing the ad and completing an order.”
We see right through you, Google.
Google wants more impulse buys and to control the online shopping world! That being said, this beta might be worth trying out because of the possibility of improving conversion rates.
So, what do buy buttons mean for merchants and consumers?
Impact for Merchants
Merchants will still handle order fulfillment, but the whole buying process will be hosted by Google. This means that the checkout page will be a Google page rather than a merchant website.
As Google puts it, this should “reduce the friction in mobile purchases without interfering in the relationship between merchants and consumers.”
To make things more company-specific, merchants will “be able to customize Google’s purchase page with their own branding.” The checkout page will also have other product suggestions—in case the product the consumer clicked on wasn’t exactly what they were looking for.
For merchants, buy buttons mean less friction and higher conversion rates.
Impact for Consumers
Consumers will begin seeing buy buttons in their social media feeds and while shopping on Google on mobile devices.
According to Techlicious,
“When you search for an item on Google—say a pair of running shoes—you’ll soon see an expandable bar titled “Shop on Google” filled with products relevant to your search. You can browse the selection of shoes on display (offered via stores like Finish Line), tapping to pull up more information about each pair.”
When you find a product you want to buy, Google will handle the actual purchase and store your payment information on its own site so buyers don’t have to re-enter payment information for each retailer individually.
The end result? Buy buttons make purchasing easier and more convenient for customers.
The Downside of Buy Buttons
Now that we know what buy buttons look like for Merchants and Consumers and we heard why Google thinks they’re a great idea, what are the cons of buy buttons?
- Merchants won’t be in control of the customer experience. No matter how much customization Google allows in the buy button interface, it’ll never take place of a completely customizable website designed with a target demographic, branding, and user experience in mind.
- Merchants will have to add another selling channel in order to use buy buttons. Google has just created another selling channel the merchant must adopt and update. Adoption shouldn’t be too bad if a customer is already using AdWords and Merchant Center—but it is still another channel.
- Merchants will have to prevent errors in an additional selling channel. In addition to the headache of creating and managing another channel, the risk of errors in product price, availability, size, etc. increases when another channel is added. Errors could damage bottom line, brand imaging, and customer experience.
- Merchants won’t be in control of customer service. Customer service is crucial to obtain market share and loyalty. Removing a brand’s unique customer service will level the playing field and remove that differentiation.
There are many pros to buy buttons—ease of purchasing, less friction, and higher conversion rates—but will the loss of control and the addition of another channel make buy buttons widely adopted? What do you think?
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