Unless you have been living under a rock for the last decade, you will be more than aware that the online world has become dominated by online shopping and retail becoming e-tail.

Personally, since I began working in digital, I have seen:

  • The rise of fashion brands and e-commerce stores sprouting up every hour from people’s bedrooms due to the ease of drag-and-drop(WYSIWYG) systems such as Shopify and Squarespace.
  • Dropshipping teenagers making millions and competing with large monopolies through simply selling AliExpress and Alibaba sourced items at a higher price online.
  • High-street stores such as Toys R Us struggling financially due to the likes of Argos who created an easier online-store to order from.
  • Local markets and family shops ending their reign due to enterprises like eBay and Amazon which allow you to sell practically anything online to anyone within a few clicks.
  • I could create a long list, but that’s a great idea for another blog, so I will leave it for then…

You get the idea (I hope). Regardless, after reading about the latest Google update, you certainly will!

The simple fact is that shopping online is incredibly easy, convenient and sometimes even enjoyable. For my generation, for others, I know, and certainly for generations to come, shopping online is, without any doubt, more of an enjoyable experience than stepping into any shopping centre or physical store.

Before reading about this latest Google update, I thought that online shopping had hit its peak and that it simply couldn’t get any easier.

Oh, how wrong I was…

E-tailers have been given Google’s greatest gift

Put simply, the act of any search marketer is to gain ‘real estate’ in search engine results pages, because this is the goal (at a macro scale) of any brand marketer when considering search marketing.

Well, when it comes to this Google update, which was announced today, 15th January 2020, and will be rolled out this week, Google has gifted e-tailers with an opportunity for increased real estate, free of charge.

Let’s break the update down:

The only real negative to shopping for clothes, shoes and more online is the fact that you cannot see all of the options, sizes, colours and other variations in front of you – like you can on a rack or aisle in a physical shop.

When shopping online, if you are picky, like me, it can be awkward at times. From finding the right shade of colour, the right size, price and more of all the items you have in mind, it can just get too frustrating when comparing and eyeing your best bet.

In short, it just isn’t always easy.

Up until now…

Through search, you have always been able to discover links and land on different stores and products through ‘shop’ features. However, when this update is rolled out, we can begin to access and flick-through clothes, shoes, accessories and more fashion items from all over the web in one place.

Note: currently, this has only been announced for mobile search.

Sounds great, right? Yes, and there’s even more good news.

To access this and begin shopping right away, all you have to do is what you would usually do.

Simply search for whatever it is you’d like, for example, ‘men’s running shoes’, ‘butterfly earrings’, ‘denim jacket’, etc. 

From your search, Google will identify and serve to you the products that it believes you want to see from popular stores and websites across the web and you will be able to access, scroll and shop in this new section on mobile search.

You’ll be able to filter out what you don’t want, in the aim of getting straight to what it is you do want, from different criteria such as:

  • Style
  • Colour
  • Department
  • Size type
  • and more

When it comes to buying, Google has said:

Once you know what you want to buy, it can sometimes be hard to uncover all the different stores that carry an item so you can pick exactly what you want. With this new experience, we’ve done the hard work for you by bringing products from many stores together. You’ll also have quick access to reviews in case you need help making a decision.

How does it work?

To roll this update out and bring this feature to life, Google follows these steps:

  1. Google Indexes products from millions of what it deems ‘popular’ online stores,
  2. Then distributes the indexed products to you in the new shopping feature based on your search demand.

I admit I have made it sound very simple, but my brain hurts just thinking about the algorithms behind this, so full credit goes to you, Google!

What do I predict will happen from this?

All I know at this stage is that seeing this unfold will be extremely interesting. However, my predictions and musings of what may happen are as follows:

  • Smaller stores will be able to get ahead of larger stores by being ‘nimble’ and efficient with this update.
  • Stores that are not currently correctly catalogued and don’t have well-organised product content and attributes will be hanging their heads in shame for the next 12-24 months, as they see smaller stores, that are optimised, get ahead of them in this feature.
  • Google simply will not have this feature available to users if they did not believe it would provide the user with hundreds, if not thousands, of products that are relevant and helpful to their search demand. This means, that if somebody searches for ‘heart-shaped necklace’, Google will have to accurately provide thousands of pre-indexed store data and products correctly to users. Therefore, metadata such as alt tags, file names, product reviews, rich snippets, authoritative product page content and more will be as important as ever; and those that nailed this stage as early as possible will be rewarded for this.
  • 80% of the market will carry on as they are, and be frustrated that this feature is not paying off for them, which will ultimately result in them increasing their paid ads budget to compensate, an outcome Google will appreciate, anyway.
  • 20% of the market, of which I believe to be the industry leaders that are ‘switched on’ to new methods, such as Nike, Asos and more, alongside new up-and-coming brands that are nimble and ready to pounce on new updates such as this, will dominate and lead this feature and will ultimately be the main cause of frustration for the 80% for the next 12-24 months.

To conclude this, I am incredibly excited to see what effect this has on online shopping, etailers and whether it allows for increased domination from the big dogs or gives the potential for smaller independent stores to gain more of their market’s attention.

I guess, over the coming weeks, we will know for sure. Then, I will be back with a new article on how you can optimise your store for this new feature!

Keep your eyes peeled to Embryo’s blog for all the latest Google updates and SEO knowledge and insights!

News source: Google Blog

Ronnie Cane

With a personality full of creativity and strategic thinking, Ronnie ensures that Embryo and all our clients stay ahead of the trend in the online world. When he’s not adding his creative touch to our SEO department, you might find him drawing, writing or in the gym.