Google has launched Shopping Actions, a new program that makes it easier for consumers to shop and buy products online via Google Search and Google Assistant.
Retailers who participate in the program will have an opportunity to have their products listed within the sponsored shopping unit on Google's Search and Google Shopping pages when a consumer searches for those items.
A consumer that decides to purchase a specific item will then have the option of adding it to a universal Google Express shopping cart and paying for it using a Google-hosted checkout system. Retailers pay Google a fee for each sale that is completed through the process.
The idea is instead of merely surfacing products in search results, Google is making it easier for consumers to purchase them directly from retailers as well. In that sense, Google's Shopping Action could help brick and mortar retailers in their fight against Amazon.
"Today’s consumers don’t just want answers; more and more, they’re craving relevant, meaningful, and immediate assistance in completing their day-to-day shopping tasks," said Surojit Chatterjee, director of product management, Google Shopping in a blog March 19.
Google's research has shown that people doing product searches on Google increasingly want to also know where to buy those products, he said. In fact, searches for "where to buy" grew 85 percent over the past two years. Similarly, the proportion of people using Google's voice-activated Google Assistant to order groceries and other products online at least once a week has grown 44 percent.
The numbers have shown that consumers increasingly want options for turning online browsing into instant purchases, whenever, and however they want, Chatterjee said.
"For example, shopper Kai can do a search on Google for moisturizing hand soap, see a sponsored listing for up & up brand soap from Target, and add it to a Google Express cart," he noted.
Later the same user could reorder some other household item from home via Google Assistant and add the item to the same shopping cart. Once the consumer is ready to buy, the consumer can purchase all items, in their shopping cart, even those from different retailers, all at once using payment information stored with Google.
With Shopping Actions, consumers will get options like one-click reordering of previously purchased items and personalized recommendations based on purchase history so retailers have an opportunity for turning occasional shoppers into repeat customers, Chatterjee said. With Shopping Actions, retailers only pay when a sale actually takes place via Google, he added.
Several retailers including Target, Ulta Beauty and Flowers.com have already tested the program and are seeing tangible benefits, Chatterjee claimed. According to Chatterjee, Target for instance has seen the size of Google Express shopping baskets increase by nearly 20 percent since it signed up for the program last year. Ulta meanwhile has reported an average order value increase of 35 percent since 2016 when it first signed up as an early adopter of Shopping Actions, Chatterjee said.