Will Google's nifty 'Search to Shop' move work?

Ahead of a speculated e-commerce launch, Google has been enumerating the various reasons people should look up products they want to buy on Google Search rather than across multiple e-commerce sites

by Venkata Susmita Biswas
Published - Oct 19, 2018 8:39 AM Updated: Oct 19, 2018 8:39 AM
google shop

You want to buy a newly launched phone, where do you look it it up? Did the name of an e-commerce site pop into your mind? Well, Google has noticed that your loyalties to search for products have shifted from the Google Search Bar to other apps and e-commerce websites. And Google wants to win its Search audience back, especially on mobile. 

In a new campaign titled Search to Shop, Google has been enumerating the various reasons people should look up products they want to buy on Google Search rather than across e-commerce sites.  

The insight behind the campaign was simple. “The purchase journey on e-commerce platforms is still cumbersome, even after the consumer has addressed "what/which to buy" (the product). "Where to buy from" is still a question they struggle with,” explains Janmenjoy Mohanty - Regional President – North & East, Lowe Lintas Delhi Creative. 

He says that the "where to buy" is decided basis different parameters (color, size, availability, delivery time and price) as per user requirements. “To evaluate, currently users have to go on the platforms manually, see and then make mental or at times physical notes to arrive at the best possible ‘where to buy option’,” explains Mohanty.

So, Google approached Lowe Lintas with a simple brief: We need to drive a habit for users to query ‘buy X’ on Google, compare prices, seller ratings, and discounts from different websites / apps before making a purchase by clicking on the one they like. 

The other feature that Google wants to grow is its Product Listing Ads (PLAs). These ads help users conveniently compare prices for the products they’d like to purchase (online or offline). That is how the creative articulation for the campaign was born “online shopping ke liye Search karo aur sahi chuno."

This campaign is also part of Google’s Next Billion Users strategy. An interesting insight that informed this campaign is that while women have a higher than average representation in the Shopping category, less than 30% of Search users are women. Google wants to bring more women onto the Search platform. 

Google’s e-commerce ambitions are no secret. The tech giant is said to be planning its e-commerce debut with the Indian market. Reports say that Google will soon launch its ‘Shopping’ tab in India, allowing users to search for products to buy and directing them to merchant websites or e-commerce platforms for product listings. Google is said to be extensively studying the e-commerce market before actually launching in India. As part of this, the tech giant had also put out a poll on Twitter asking users if they are Impulse Shoppers or Researchers.  

In addition, as precursor to the launch Google India has already kick-started this campaign to showcase Google’s ability to answer the question “where to buy.” 

Expert Opinion: 
 

Arnab Mitra, MD, Liqvd Asia

I think Google is now playing this game of Mobile First seriously, finally. Their desire to move consumers from a web behavior to a mobile first behavior through Apps is something that Google has been talking about since a very long time. And what more can you do other than advertising if you want to change behavior. Visiting Google on web or mobile browsers is a common thing. But this is not the case on mobile app where there are direct shopping apps. 

In short, Google wants to use Search and use it to push a new behavior which currently is assigned to say an Amazon or a Flipkart. But changing consumer behavior is a slow process and it’s expensive. So Google will have to spend a lot of money across the country for a very, very long time. This is also a cunning move to use the Google Search preference and use it to build a shopping base directly.

Rohit Raj, CCO, The Glitch

From a consumer point of view, Google is my go-to Search destination - I ask questions like “what are the best TVs to buy”. It is essentially a destination where I do research before I buy the final product. But to compare prices, I still will need to visit different sites to finally decide which app or site I will finally buy from. Making Google the one-stop destination to find the best price for a product I want is a brilliant use case. And the ad creatives effectively communicate this message and serve the purpose of presenting Google as a destination to not just do research but also make the choice about where to buy what. 

Anadi Sah, Lead Innovation - Creative and Technology, Isobar

Global studies show that consumer behaviour has changed; people are now discovering and buying products on e-commerce sites. This makes online retail a monopoly of e-commerce sites in a way. Google’s feature of showing all the options at one place add a layer of competitive advantage and is extremely helpful to buyers. When e-marketplaces are merely distributors and not manufacturers, every marketplace should have an opportunity to reach the consumer. This feature by Google can change the e-retail dynamic.

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