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March 20, 2018

Google introduces Shopping Actions to let users shop their searches

Google has launched a new feature called Shopping Actions which will enable users to purchase items through Google Assistant and shopping ads in search results.

By Pamela Kokoszka

Google has launched a new feature called Shopping Actions which will enable users to purchase items through Google Assistant and shopping ads in search results.

Google is teaming up with US retailers, including Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Costco Wholesale and Ulta Beauty to list their products on Google Search, Google Express shopping service, and Google Assistant on mobile phones and voice devices.

In exchange for Google listings and linking to retailer loyalty programmes, the retailers will pay Google a proportion of each purchase, which is different from payments that retailers make to place ads on Google platforms.

Google claims that the new programme will offer retailers a better chance to influence shoppers’ purchasing decision and help them compete with rival Amazon.

It also hopes that the programme will help retailers capture more purchases on desktop, mobiles and smart home devices with voice search.

According to Google’s retail and shopping president Daniel Alegre, tens of millions of consumer were sending image searches of products, asking the search engine ‘where can I buy this?’, ‘where can I find it?’, ‘how can I buy it?’ or ‘how do I transact’ which influenced the initiative.

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Alegre said that over past two years, mobile searches asking where to buy products increased by 85%.

Alegre said: “We have taken a fundamentally different approach from the likes of Amazon because we see ourselves as an enabler of retail.”

He added: “We see ourselves as part of a solution for retailers to be able to drive better transactions … and get closer to the consumer.”

The idea behind the programme is to make online buying easier by giving consumers a single shopping cart with an instant checkout, which is a ‘core feature of Amazon’s retail dominance’.

Retailers can attract customers by offering them personalised recommendations based on their previous purchase history when shopping through voice devices.

According to Alegre, retail partners saw the average size of a customer’s shopping basket increase by 30% with the programme.

Ulta Beauty—which sells makeup and skin care products from brands such as MAC, Estee lauder and Clinique—saw its order value jump 35% since partnering with Google.

Target experienced an average increase of nearly 20% in the number of items in shoppers’ Google Express baskets.

Walmart and Target made a deal with Google to appear in search results via Google Home last year.

Boomerang Commerce CEO Guru Hariharan said: “Brands are looking at Google as the enemy of the enemy and that makes Google their friend’ referring to the competition between Amazon and chains like Walmart and Target.”

Target’s chief information and digital officer Mike McNamara said Target shoppers ‘love the ease and convenience of making their Target run without lifting a finger by using a voice interface.’

He added: “This is just the beginning for Target and Google,”

According to McNamara, Target shoppers will soon be able to link their online account and loyalty card with their Google accounts and get 5% off on purchases and free shipping