One-click ordering has been a key goal of online marketing retailers for more than a decade and only a few players have come close to making it a reality. While Amazon’s “Prime”, E-bay’s “Turbo Checkout” and Staple’s “Easy Button” currently enjoy the winner’s podium, Google is reportedly entering the competition within the next few weeks, testing their own ‘Buy’ button within specific paid mobile search results.
The intent is to make it easier for mobile users to purchase directly from Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), enabling a more consistent shopping experience by reducing the “friction” associated with making a transaction.
Google’s Buy button won't appear in non-paid, organic search results, and desktop users will not be included in the initial phase. According to reports, the Buy button won't appear for every potential product, instead, they'll start with a small amount of products and grow from there.
Shoppers who click on a Buy button will be taken to another Google product page, where they can customize their orders and shipping method prior to completing their purchase. Currently, users who click on items in the "Shop on Google" section are sent directly to the product page on the retailer's website, making for an inconsistent shopping experience, depending on how easy or difficult it is to navigate within that site.
Products will still be sold by the retailers, not Google - and Google will not be taking a cut from each purchase - but the Buy button feature is far more significant for Google than it might seem. Google.com remains the most-trafficked site and most-used search engine in the world - a powerful combination, considering it already bids and sells it’s paid ads atop search pages for retailers.
The Buy feature helps position Google as an e-commerce competitor against companies like Amazon, with its 270 million-plus shoppers each month, and eBay, which reports more than 157 million users. Google undoubtedly wants to have its own marketplace that is simple and low-friction, so that many internet users would choose do their shopping right from their Google search results instead of heading elsewhere.
Over the past few years, Google has slowly carved its way into e-commerce, streamlining paid search results, and releasing its same-day delivery service - Google Shopping Express - which is currently limited to seven major U.S. markets, including San Francisco, Manhattan, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C.
Although this new feature will be convenient for Google search users, the move will worry some retailers. They have valid concerns that Google can easily turn into a hybrid middleman with these buy button-based listings becoming the preferred way people choose to purchase products or services - bypassing retailers' sites and weakening these sites' relationships with hard earned customers.
We're a long way off before every product we search for on Google will be available for purchase through their search results. And Google will have to offer a proverbial olive branch to merchants and AdWords customers by allowing them to collect the same kind of data from Google-based shoppers that they would receive if the buyers went to their sites instead. Should a shopper opt in, merchants will likely receive shoppers' email addresses and other information for use in future online marketing campaigns, and Google will continue to profit via advertising (as opposed to killing the golden goose, and taking a percentage of each sale).