Google's Shopping tab, already available in over 30 countries, will soon be launched in India. Citing sources in the know The Economic Times reported that the initiative has been in the works for several months now. It is expected to be piloted soon, prior to a full-fledged launch before the end of the year.
Akin to the 'News' or 'Images' tabs on Google search page, the 'Shopping' tab allows users to sift through different merchant listings of the product they are looking for, instead of going through separate ecommerce websites. Once users find what they like, Google directs them to relevant merchant websites or ecommerce platforms for completing the purchase.
Although Google already lists products through its 'product listing ads', the Shopping tab will give users a lot more control. For instance, users can filter the product they are looking for based on price or other attributes like colour and shape, which translates to high rates of engagement. On the merchant side, anyone with a product feed can reportedly plug into Google's merchant centre to be listed on the tab."Google wants partners of all sizes and shapes - offline, online, pureplay, omnichannel," said sources, adding, "It [Shopping tab] can tell the user where the product is available, is it available online, etc." So the search giant is not only in talks with top etailers such as Flipkart, Paytm Mall and Snapdeal, but is also expected to tap into its large network of registered small and medium enterprises or SMEs - from neighbourhood kirana stores to high-end handicraft stores not necessarily listed on the ecommerce platforms - to help users discover products they want. The service, for now, will be provided free of cost.
"We are always exploring options to help consumers find the products they want to buy more quickly and efficiently from local merchants," a Google spokesperson told the daily.According to some experts, the Google shopping tab could be a precursor to the company eventually setting up an ecommerce marketplace, taking cues from Amazon. The latter had launched price comparison website Junglee.com to gather consumer data before its full-fledged foray into ecommerce. Similarly, the Shopping tab will help Google first understand Indian shopping trends. With 80-85 million online shoppers, India is an important market for Google.
The development comes against a backdrop of declining ad revenues. Earlier this year, media reports said that Flipkart and Amazon had reduced their ad spending on Google by as much as 30%. Moreover, Google has been losing market share to Amazon on product searches in the US.
"In the US, 50-60% product search begins at Amazon, bypassing Google and cannibalising its market," Arpan Sheth, a partner at consulting firm Bain & Company, told the daily. "Google is losing online shoppers because of this and it is taking a hit at their advertising revenue." Compared to Google's annual ad revenues of over $40 billion, Amazon's annualised ad revenue is much lower at over $6 billion. But it's growing at around 132% quarter-on-quarter.
Citing company sources the daily added that the Shopping tab initiative has seen a high degree of conversion globally because of strong user intent.
Edited by Sushmita Choudhary Agarwal
Copyright©2021 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today