By Prarthana Mitra
To cater to Google’s 80 million users in India, the search engine giant will soon launch its shopping tab, which aims to make buying products online easier. Two people familiar with the development told the press that the feature will be piloted soon and direct users to merchant websites or e-commerce platforms for product listings.
Here’s how it makes online shopping better
While Google is already equipped with the ‘product listing ads’ feature, the shopping tab gives more agency and control to the user. It will look similar to the “Images” or “News” tab and enable shoppers to sift through a diverse range of products and merchant listings, as opposed to going to an e-commerce website directly to search for a particular product.
This will allow users to filter the product they are looking for, on the basis of several criteria like price, colour, brand and other attributes. It also means more easy access to details of the same, with an easy redirect. For the merchant, this makes it easier to plug into Google’s merchant centre, get listed on the shopping tab, and let the search engine do the rest.
The full-fledged rollout will take place at the end of the year and will be free of cost for now, according to one of the sources.
What we know so far
A Google spokesperson later confirmed the news in an emailed response to the Economic Times. It read, “We are always exploring options to help consumers find the products they want to buy more quickly and efficiently from local merchants.”
According to news reports, Google’s foray into product search comes at a time when the tech giant is said to be losing market share to Amazon on product searches in the US, which translates into declining ad revenues.
To make the feature more comprehensive, Google will enlist the help of e-commerce players such as Flipkart, Paytm Mall, and Snapdeal, according to one of the persons cited earlier. Additionally, Google might also explore the potential in its large network of registered small and medium enterprises or SMEs. Involving neighbourhood kirana stores and high-end handicraft stores alike, the Alphabet-backed company aims to help shoppers discover products and optimise searches.
“The idea is that of an open ecosystem. Google wants partners of all sizes and shapes — offline, online, pureplay, omnichannel,” the source said.
Is this a move towards Google’s own shopping platform?
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