A Blog by Jonathan Low


Dec 17, 2014

For Google, There's More To Fighting Amazon Than a One-Click Buy Button

As the race to the top of the tech universe tightens, it's co-evolutionary tendencies take off.

Just as Sean Connery's Eliot Ness swore about his arch-rival Al Capone in The Untouchables, "He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue," constant one-upsmanship is the nature of the competition.

In far less dramatic fashion, Google and Amazon are vying for primacy in the ecommerce market. Amazon has had the advantage, due in no small measure to the fact that making sales is what it was created to do. Google, no slouch, either, has had other missions which have served it well.

But in this game, hindering your competitor is sometimes as important as advancing your own cause. To this end, Google and others have attempted to slow Amazon's growth by introducing new features that might impede its momentum, making it less likely that Amazon, in turn, will disrupt their own initiatives.

The challenge, as the following article explains, is that as citizen-consumers become more aware of who is making money from their information, Google has suffered blows to its reputation as a trusted steward of personal data. Buttons are all very nice, and certainly convenient, but if people hesitate to use them because they worry about what you'll do, it may be time to ponder the implications of your behavior. JL

Lara O'Reilly reports in Business Insider:

Google has some work to do in getting consumers to trust the company with payment information if it is to fend of Amazon. 45.4% of consumers trust Amazon with their payment and personal information, while just 12.9% trust Google.
Google has become the latest company to explore the launch of a “buy” button and other additional shopping features as it looks to beef up its e-commerce arsenal to fight off Amazon, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Google has been approaching retailers about the introduction of a buy button within its Google Shopping search results, sources told The Wall Street Journal. Currently, Google Shopping simply redirects users to retailers’ websites, rather than letting them buy direct from a search result.
The rollout would be similar to Amazon’s “one-click ordering” feature, which also appears in its off-site “commerce ads,” and allows users to type in their credit card and delivery information just once in order to make future purchases. This could be Google’s big attempt to prevent Amazon eating into its market share when it comes to shopping. Google has a long-term strategy for dealing with Amazon: Over the years, many people have gotten used to starting their shopping searches on Amazon, or searching in Google but arriving at Amazon's pages because Amazon has good search result rankings. In the last couple of years, Google has adopted a strategy of layering various promotional search devices in front or on top of Amazon's results, letting Google shopping advertisers cream off clicks that otherwise would have gone to Google. A Google "buy" button would obviously circumvent shoppers in a hurry and direct traffic away from Amazon.
Separately, The Wall Street journal says Google is also exploring the launch of a marketing program that would allow partner merchants to promote two-day shipping for products purchased via Google Shopping. That would not meet the 1-day delivery service offered to Amazon Prime customers, but does resemble programs offered by other shopping services like ShopperRunner Inc, which offers two-day shipping from thousands of partners including American Eagle, Shoes.com and the NBA store for a $79 a year fee. Google also already has its own $95 per year Express same/next-day service, which launched in October and is currently only available in the US.
However, sources have told The Wall Street Journal that both of these ideas might never come to fruition, as retailers have been cool to the propositions so far, fearing price competition and a lack of control over the shopper experience. Were Google to roll out a buy button, it would also get more data about how its ads convert into sales, likely pushing up advertising prices.
A Google spokeswoman told Business Insider the company "does not comment on rumors or speculation."
Google CEO Eric Schmidt has previously described Amazon as Google’s biggest search rival, as many users simply bypass Google and go straight to the e-commerce site when they are thinking about shopping.
Indeed, in the third quarter, 39% of US online shoppers began researching their purchases on Amazon, while just 11% started in Google, according to research from Forrester, cited by The Wall Street Journal. In 2009, 24% of shoppers began their research on search engines and just 18% started with Amazon. This is a trend replicated in the UK. Some 61% of UK shopper have found gift ideas from searching Amazon this Christmas, while 50% got their inspiration from Google searches, according to a survey from search experience optimization platform Searchmetrics.
Searchmetrics Xmas ShoppingSearchmetrics
Google has some work to do in getting consumers to trust the company with payment information if it is to fend of Amazon. Research released this week from Bizrate Insights, a division of ecommerce marketing solutions company Connexity, found that 45.4% of consumers trust Amazon with their payment and personal information, while just 12.9% trust Google. Bizrate Insights surveyed more than 6,200 online buyers.
Facebook and Twitter have also recently made moves to test their own “buy” buttons.


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