In a matter of weeks, Google will be adding a Buy Now button to its Shopping results in the US (and later in the UK).
Currently, shoppers tend to use their mobiles to browse for products, only to convert later on desktop or tablet. The new Buy Now button is meant to make the mobile transaction process easier. It is expected that this will lead to a boom in mobile commerce sales.
When the user clicks on the Buy Now button, they’re taken to a Google product page. Before they complete the transaction, they’re given the option to specify such things as size, colour, and delivery options. The order information – the product details and the customer’s name and address – is then be sent to the retailer, who remains responsible for processing, packaging, and delivery. Retailers are not charged a percentage of the transaction, but they do have to pay for the PPC advertising cost.
With this change, Google will progress from a referrer of e-commerce traffic to the transactional middle man. Indeed, the Buy Now button will work in much the same way as Amazon’s “one-click ordering” feature: the aim being to keep buyers in the Google Shopping environment.
As always, this move is intended to “improve the search experience for customers”. It will also, somewhat conveniently, allow Google to compete against the likes of eBay and Amazon, gaining back some of the traffic that they have lost to these online marketplaces over the years.
Talks of this change have been met with some scepticism, and quite a bit of reluctance. These concerns have primarily been expressed by retailers who want to be able to manage their customer relationships and loyalty.
With Google acting as a middleman, retailers might lose access to the valuable information they use to build buyer profiles and offer a high quality, personalised service. Google is attempting to quell these concerns by adding an option that will send these details to retailers, so long as the customer consents to it.
But retailers are also worried about hurdles regarding Google’s ability to manage post-purchase customer needs, such as returns. On top of that, there are concerns that the Buy Now button will actually harm sales. Currently, when a customer accesses a retailer’s site, they can be encouraged to buy additional products. But if they are confined to a specific product page managed by Google, this will not happen.
This reservation has also been addressed by Google, who will apparently be adding an option to view other products by the same retailer on their own store page.
Is It Right for Your Business?
The Google Buy Now button will only be available to a number of select merchants when it is launched, but this will soon grow. It is therefore worth considering whether or not adding it to your shopping campaigns will be beneficial for your business.
Did you optimise your site for mobile devices when the last Google update was rolled out? If you have a great mobile site, with a streamlined and intuitive checkout process, it may prove detrimental to use the Buy Button, as your customers would never see your well optimised site.
On the other hand, if your mobile site is poorly optimised and has a difficult to navigate checkout system with a high abandon rate, adding the Buy Button will give you the time you need to address your site’s issues without losing out on any sales.
If your competitors are using the Buy Now button, it might be worth testing it out yourself. If it’s working for them, you definitely don’t want to miss out! After all, it’s rumoured that retailers will eventually be allowed to tailor their Google Shopping Landing Page. If you know that customers prefer your brand over that of your competitors, make sure you personalise your page so that they know they’re buying from you.
One Very Important Thought
If you choose to opt out of the Buy Now button, content marketing will become more important than ever.
Customers will now have the option of buying products without giving their details to retailers. This, of course, means that there’ll be less opportunity to send targeted, personalised emails encouraging customers to buy more.
Your content will need to be revised to really and truly be a part of an amazing customer experience. You want your customers to like you so much that they come back.
There’s a plethora of shops online and offline selling the same products as you. You need to give your customers a reason to buy from you, rather than elsewhere. Make them love you, and they won’t mind the odd marketing email. If they’re well written and genuinely engaging, they may even look forward to receiving them.
Make them want your personalised shopping experience over the impersonal one click Google Buy Now option.
If you have no time to do this, it may be worth adding the Buy Now Button to your Shopping campaigns. Just bear in mind that now, mores than ever, content marketing is essential for online success.