Archive for the ‘Google Mobile’ Category

Google Commerce Continues to Ramp Up for Holiday Shopping

November 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Over the past month (even the past week!), Google has made lots of Commerce related updates/announcement that retailers might have missed, so I thought I’d sum them up really quickly.

1.  Google Merchant Center (GMC) updated its data feed specifications, significantly cutting the list of attributes.  As far as SingleFeed knows, all attributes which were formerly listed are still supported, but Google Product Search might not be highlighting those attributes for refinement purposes.

2.  Google Checkout is accepting holiday promotions!  While Geckout is no longer footing the bill for these types of promotions, this is still a great opportunity for merchants.  From the blog post: “Last holiday season, merchants who ran a Checkout promotion increased their Google Checkout sales by an average of 209%, compared to a 25% increase for merchants who did not participate.”  Merchants who set up a holiday promotion will benefit from a special badge and what sounds like a ton of promotion from Google: Google will market the promotion through AdWords ads, emails to buyers, and social networking posts…Social Networking Posts???

If you participate, we’ll change your standard Google Checkout button on your website to the special promotional Checkout button that features an orange starburst labeled with the promotion discount. When the minimum cart requirement is met, the discount will automatically appear for buyers when they shop with Google Checkout from November 23, 2010 at 4:00 PM Pacific to December 16, 2010, at 4:00 PM Pacific.

Additionally, if you are an AdWords advertiser, Google will change the standard Checkout badge appearing on your AdWords ads to a new badge that features the promotion discount. These badges have been introduced to enable shoppers who search on to easily identify and take advantage of promotional offers.

3.  Data Feeds now influence your SEO listings.  While I’ve talked for years about the opportunity to mine your data feed for keywords for SEO and PPC, Google one upped me by putting the GMC feed content in organic results.  This is the Rich Snippets program (microformats).  For you non-webmasters, I’m not talking about the OneBox listings, I’m talking about rich product information within merchant organic listings. Check out the highlighted sections below for Amazon, HSN, and Williams-Sonoma rich snippet info garnered from the data feed.

Merchants can take advantage of this as follows: 1) providing a data feed and specifying rel=canonical (merchants need a lot more info on rel=canonical…way too many unanswered questions) on product pages, 2) providing markup to your site, and 3) through the Product Reviews program.  Read the Rich Snippets for Shopping blog post to find out more.

4.  Google Boost – Advertise your local business in San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago.  Local store information (location, hours, coupons, etc.) is going to become more and more critical as Google continues to help offline merchants make more money through local and mobile applications.  Assuming you’ve claimed your free Google Places listings (for any city – this is a must), it’s now time to test advertising through Boost.

Boost enables business owners to easily create online search ads from directly within their Google Places account. No ongoing management is needed after the initial set up, and this beta is currently available to select local businesses in San Francisco, Houston and Chicago.

And with Google’s recent Android updates for Maps, this local information will be even more critical for the holidays.

5.  Product Ads.  In case you feel behind the ball in understanding Product Ads, don’t worry, there are more changes.  Google has hardened up its Product Ads attributes for the GMC data feed (stop using that prefer_for_query attribute!).  And Google is giving merchants more control of Product Ads through GMC (no data feed changes required).

Stephanie Tilenius’ Keynote at Internet Retailer – Google Commerce is about Mobile, Social, Personalization and Local

June 10, 2010 3 comments

Here are my notes on Stephanie Tilenius’ second public speaking event as VP of eCommerce at Google titled Betting on Disruption.  Over 30 minutes, Stephanie shared pretty commonly known information, but in a much more clear 10K foot view than we’ve previously heard from Google.  As with all live blogging, some of the information that follows is paraphrased.

There are 4 key areas that are important to Google’s eCommerce initiatives: Mobile, Social, Personalization, and Local.  These are trends that will change commerce in powerful ways.

Mobile phone adoption is growing at fast pace.  4.6 billion people have mobile phones.  Today 1 in 5 people in the US have a smart phone.  Last year it was 1 in 10 people.   Android is now growing faster than iPhone platform.  Half of all internet connections are from mobile devices.  Consumers are accessing websites through mobile devices.  We believe that the mobile web is going to be bigger than the PC web.  The mobile web is accelerating 8x faster than PC web.

What are people doing with their phones?  Searching (has grown 5x in last 2yrs) and Shopping.

Shopping.  Half of consumers this past holiday shopping season said they used their phones for shopping – to research products of find coupons.  Google has seen a 30x growth in mobile shopping queries.  Mobile internet usage is elevated during the weekends (and there’s a correlated drop in PC based internet usage).  Look at Japan, during commute time and lunch time, mobile usage increases (with correlated drop in PC based internet usage).  Google is betting on mobile first.  It will be bigger than the PC web.

Google Goggles.  Allows you to scan products.  Translates a picture of a book cover or barcode into a query on the web. We’re getting better at soft goods (shoes for example). You can take a picture of something you want, walk down the street, and be able to find it in a store.

Social. We see a rise of social sites.  1 out of every 6 minutes online is social.  1 out of every X (might have been 20, but I’m not sure) tweets is about products.

Personalization. Mentioned and showed the SuperBowl ad called Parisian Love.  We enabled consumers to create their own ads.  We had 100K videos within 2 weeks.  Highlighted Polyvore, which features user generated content (UGC), basically enabling consumers to create their own designs and have others buy them.  Empowering users to drive commerce is a big trend.

Local. You can get info on a local provider in search, mobile, or on the PC.  1 in 5 desktop searches are local.  1 in 3 mobile searches are local.  Near Me Now button just released.  Shows everything around you.  80% of people using Near Me Now are undecided about what they want to do.

What about these trends?  What does it mean for you?  Three pieces of advice: Be Found, Make Your Ads Useful, and Create a Seamless Shopping Experience Online and Offline.

Be found

Ad for Denny’s during SuperBowl highlighted the need to be in search as viewers searched for Denny’s because of the TV ad.  You need to be in search.  Stephanie showed the Google Shopping product page that has developed over the last year to include nearby stores, video reviews, tech specs, prices, etc.  We’re taking product feeds and putting the information out there.  Discussed the partnership with BazaarVoice.  Best Buy and Sony Style are some early adopters.  Talked about mobile shopping with local availability, the Blue Dots, which highlights inventory that’s available right now in the store.  Best Buy, Williams Sonoma, and Sears are 3 of over a dozen retailers participating.

Make your ads useful

We’ve improve the format for text ads.  What should we do for commercial information?  We’ve added 5 or 6 different formats:

-Site links (merchant decides what to promote, what links to display).  S

-Store locator

-Product listings (ads) – We’ve taken the product feed and put the information (price, picture, title) right in the ad.  Using the feed the merchant has already sent us.

-Product extension ads – We let the merchants decide which products to promote, how to run campaigns.

-Click to call ads

Across all these ad formats, we’ve see an increase of 10-30% CTR.

-Remarketing. Showed IHG (Intercontinental Hotels) example.  Retargeting enables retailers to target promos to consumers who have left their site.

Create a seamless shopping experience – offline and online.  93% of sales is still in the stores.  We launched a product called Google Shopper.  We have over 700K downloads.  We’re encouraging you to think about blending offline and online.

Data on how this is all coming together:

-Macys: every $1 online drives $6 in stores within 10 days

-Best Buy: 80% of customers who come in the door went online to first

Notion is that today’s retail experience will get richer and richer.  Html5 and mobile web – you need to innovate.  It’s time for websites and mobile commerce to start innovating.  87% of consumers search before they buy.

Google Shopper – Google Shopping for your Mobile Phone

June 8, 2010 1 comment

Google Shopper for AndroidGoogle Shopper is a Labs product.  As an Android phone user, I’ve tested the application out a number of times.  The product allows you to perform an image search, voice search, or a text search for a product.  Image search recognizes cover art and scans barcodes.  Voice search is self explanatory, although for some reason, I’m always pleasantly surprised that it understands what I’m saying.   And text search is the normal text search you’d perform on any computer.  The application allows the consumer to view a history of product searches.  There’s also a way to ‘star’ a product like you’d star an email in Gmail, but I’ve never been able to figure out that feature.

Once you’ve performed a search, you get results that look just like Google Shopping search results.  And that’s because Google Shopper is just a mobile entry path for Google Shopping.  Which means that if a merchant wants to take advantage of Google Shopper, they have to submit a Google Merchant Center data feed.  Again, the power of the data feed at work.  Understanding one of the themes of this blog yet?

Once on a product page, which is just a stripped down version of a Google Shopping/Google Product Search product page, you have four options: see an overview of the product, compare prices, read reviews, and see product details.  As this is all driven by Google Shopping, all of this information is fairly straight forward, although I especially like the idea of reviews and product details.  I’ve stood in a Macy’s looking at luggage, scanned a barcode, quickly checked to make sure I wasn’t being ripped off, then checked out reviews of the bag.  And in comparing laptops, the product details came in handy as those little cards at Best Buy don’t always go into the detail I want.

On each product page, there’s an option to broadcast/share the product in lots of ways.  The way my Android phone is set up and connected with other services I use, the way of broadcasting products is similar to how it works for Picasa.  Clicking on the share button, I can send it to Facebook, Twitter (through whatever client I’m using), Gmail, regular mail, or text message.  I’m sure other methods of sharing would come up if I were connected to other services.   So in a couple clicks I could easily share a product with my friends on Facebook and ask for feedback.  Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten this feature to work in the last couple months as I get the error message: ‘Your link could not be shared.’ when I try to share it on Facebook.  (Paul, any help would be appreciated!)

When people talk about ecommerce these days, they are usually talk about transacting on the mobile phone.  Yes, this is a fast growing area of ecommerce, but I think the much more exciting prospect at this point is helping consumers make informed buying decisions when not in front of a computer.  This can be done through all the features that Google Shopper has available: check price, read reviews, see product details, share with friends, etc.  And then there’s the connection with Local stores, the so called Blue Dots and services like Milo, to help a consumer figure out if a product is available locally.  More on that later.

Stephanie Tilenius, VP Google eCommerce Speaking at Internet Retailer

June 1, 2010 2 comments

Update: Read my blog post on Stephanie Tilenius’ keynote at Internet Retailer.

Even though Google has been active in ecommerce for about 8 years, Stephanie Tilenius will give an address at Internet Retailer entitled Google enters the commerce arena.  Maybe that means that Google Product Search is finally ready to come out of Beta!  ;)

Stephanie Tilenius joined Google as VP of eCommerce joined Google from eBay back in February.   According to this NYTimes article, and in typical Google fashion, Google said little about her exact role.

This will be Stephanie’s second official talk as VP of eCommerce for Google.  Last month Stephanie gave a presentation at ChannelAdvisor’s Catalyst conference.


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