Buy Now button on a keyboard

Google Set to Add “Buy” Buttons to Mobile Search Soon

The Wall Street Journal broke news last week that Google will implement buy buttons into search results. This change, which is reportedly rolling out in the next few weeks, will transform Google into an online marketplace for mobile users. This would bring Google into the ranks of huge e-commerce contenders, particularly Amazon and eBay.

Organic search results found from Google’s algorithm will not offer buy options. A “Shop on Google” heading will host the buttons for paid results only, and will be exclusive to mobile searches. When users click, they will be directed to another Google managed page that will allow them to customize their order, including sizes, colors, shipping options, and ultimately finalize the sale. While the goods will still come directly from the retailer, Google will facilitate the buying process, which will allow users who opt-in to save their credit card information directly to Google to speed up future purchases.

For retailers, this could be a great opportunity, but it is going to be met with some hesitation – and rightfully so. Since Google is handling the sale process, retailers do not have access to credit card information and are not given the access to shopper information from this part of the sale, nor save it for future transactions. Companies, however, will likely still be able to acquire address and e-mail information from the opt-in for future marketing purposes through the same marketing programs they would normally use, such as asking customers to sign up for mailing lists or newsletters. Though Google claims the checkout page will be heavily branded with logos and links to other products belonging to the retailer, some still fear that a disconnect may occur between brand and customer. However, this seems like a futile concern considering the existence of Amazon and other sites have not hurt customer-company relations.

There is some question and concern over how returns and transaction issues will be addressed. Amazon handles all merchandise and returns directly, but they also ship the goods direct as well, meaning nothing comes straight from the seller. For Google, all products will be processed and shipped directly from each retailer, and they will not take a cut from the sale as Amazon does. Google will continue to get paid based on their current advertising model, which charges retailers only when users click their links.

This could be a huge shift for Google, making them not just another search engine. Allowing users to search and purchase all in one place is something this search giant has yet to offer. Is Google taking over the world? It’s arguable. Is this change bound to change everything when it comes to e-commerce? Only time will tell, but when it comes to Google, be ready for anything.

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