With Facebook looking to make a bigger eCommerce push via its new Facebook and Instagram shops, Google's looking to ensure that it maintains its stake in the online shopping space.
After recently making its Google Shopping product listings available for free, in order to assist businesses seeking options to maintain their sales during the pandemic, the search giant is now also removing its commission fees on Buy on Google listings, available via search results and in dedicated shopping displays.
As per Google:
"While retailers have several options for driving traffic to their website with free listings or with Shopping ads, many also use Buy on Google to give shoppers a convenient way to purchase something right when they discover it. By removing our commission fees, we’re lowering the cost of doing business and making it even easier for retailers of all sizes to sell directly on Google."
To be clear, this offer only relates to businesses that are participating in the 'Buy on Google' checkout experience. That's currently only available to selected businesses, and Google is planning to invite more US businesses to the program in the coming months.
- If you’re brand new to selling on Google through Shopping Actions, you’ll be invited to onboard directly to this new 0% commission version of the program.
- If your store is already live on the platform, you’ll be invited to migrate your account to the new version with 0% commission over the next few weeks. When it’s time to migrate, you’ll find a Terms of Service overview page in Merchant Center, where you can accept the new Terms to take advantage of the new 0% commission rate. In the meantime, starting July 30, your commission rate will be automatically capped at 5% or less.
So it's not available to all retailers, but it is another way for Google to boost its Shop on Google listings, which, as noted, should help it ensure it keeps building on its product display options, and keeps at least some users from switching to other platforms for product discovery.
Google has actually been refining its product discovery and buying options over the last few years. With Pinterest stepping into product discovery - and onto Google's turf - it's added a range of new tools and options to keep users searching on its platform instead. But Facebook's shops look set to have a bigger impact, and with more people now looking to shop online due to the pandemic, the time is right for Google to take a more defined stance, in order to maintain its position as the search leader, in all respects.
In addition to this, Google will now also open its platform to more digital commerce providers, "beginning with Shopify for inventory and order management and PayPal and Shopify for payment processing". That will provide more ways for retailers to list their products via Google search surfaces.
And to further assist SMBs impacted by COVID-19, Google's also looking to add a new small business filter on the Google Shopping tab.
With most people beginning their discovery process on Google, it makes sense for the search giant to look to maintain its hold on eCommerce-related queries, while additionally assisting businesses where it can. But again, Facebook Shops looks set to be a significant player in the market.
It'll be interesting to see if Google is impacted by such.
Google's commission-free Buy on Google listings will be expanded to all eligible sellers in the U.S. over the coming months. You can learn more about the requirements here, and sign up to join the waitlist at this link.