When Google held its annual Marketing Live event in May 2019, it announced plans to roll out a new Google Shopping experience in the coming months. This new update, which merges Google Shopping and Google Express into a universal shopping platform, is now live in several countries, including the United States. Amid this update, however, the look and functionality of Shopping ads on the main Google SERP appear to remain unchanged.
As with any significant channel redesign, these updates have raised some questions among retailers advertising on Google Shopping. Learn more about the latest Google Shopping updates below and what questions retailers are asking about the reboot.
What’s New in Google Shopping
Google Shopping users will find a completely redesigned experience at shopping.google.com. Rich imagery now fills the Google Shopping homepage while a user’s browsing history influences featured stores, products, and recommendations. The new design is similar to Google Express; shoppers can shop by department, search on-sale items at specific stores, and save items to check out later.
Here’s what the new interface looks like on mobile:
Image credit: Google
Inspired by Google Express
Google is constantly trying to simplify the retailer and consumer experience. This appears to be the case with Google Shopping. The new homepage is directly influenced by the still-live Google Express homepage, giving users a wide range of departments to shop and search products, brands, and stores.
Google Shopping’s new homepage features a simple, easy-to-navigate interface that uses past search behavior to display products and stores. “Buy with Google” products, which typically display with a blue tag atop the Shopping results page, are automatically powered by Google’s algorithm rather than retailers’ bids. Bid-based Shopping ads often display after Buy with Google products further down the results page.
The reboot is the company’s latest play to bridge online shopping with brick-and-mortar storefronts. It also aims to rival the experience of other product discovery channels like Amazon and Pinterest.
If logged into a Gmail account using shopping.google.com, users receive a personalized “Let’s go shopping, [name]” message followed by a variety of product categories to choose from. Google also integrates a user’s browsing history into Shopping search results to further personalize the experience, displaying relevant stores that user has shopped and similar products they may search for.
New Results Page Format
Products display in several different formats on the new Google Shopping results page. A featured Buy with Google product often appears first followed by multiple rows of Google Shopping products. In other instances, a series of Buy with Google products appear in the top section vertically or horizontally with several rows of Google Shopping products below. Buy with Google products may not appear in a search at all. Instead, Google Shopping products fill the entire results page.
FAQs About Google Shopping’s Revamp
Google Shopping’s latest updates pose many questions around the present and future of the channel. Here’s what we understand from the update and some factors retailers need to consider in their approach to the channel moving forward.
How Will Google Shopping Prioritize Vendors That Sell the Same Product?
Google Shopping will likely follow a similar process as Amazon, where price is the most important factor in product prioritization. If multiple sellers display the same price, Google may use factors like seller ratings or conversion rates to rank products.
In Google Express, Google only gets paid when a conversion takes place. This makes it likely that it would prioritize products with a higher conversion probability.
Will Traffic Sources to Shopping Ads Change?
In our experience, a large percentage of click volume (roughly 80%) to Shopping ads comes from Google’s main SERP. Around 10% comes from the Shopping tab. The remaining 10% comes from the Google Display Network and search partners.
While the new Google Shopping offers a more shopper-friendly interface, it’s likely that shoppers will continue using Google’s main homepage when engaging with Shopping ads.
What Areas of My Google Shopping Strategy Should I Re-evaluate or Optimize?
As always, keep an eye on ensuring the competitiveness of your ads. Optimize your feed to improve the relevance of your product titles and descriptions. Test alternative product images and think about pricing, shipping, and promotional schedules.
Will This Integration Favor Google Express Participants?
Absolutely. In order to advertise in the “browse” categories on the homepage (meaning product listings not triggered by an actual search query), you need to be live on Shopping Actions and Google Express.
It’s clear Google is moving toward a consolidated and full-funnel shopping experience with its latest update to Google Shopping. The option to shop by category or store caters to shoppers at the start of their journey while direct checkout on Google helps later-stage shoppers make a quicker purchase decision.
How will Google Shopping continue to evolve amid the developments of other channels and marketplaces? How will retailers’ marketing strategies adapt to those changes? These are just a few questions that hinge on how Google Shopping resonates with shoppers and how consumer shopping preferences change over time.