Google Wants Retailers to Help Them Turn Search Queries Into Actual Purchases

It’s all about courting the millennial shopper

Daniel Alegre, president, retail and shopping at Google spoke about the company's new ad program. LinkedIn
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

Consumers use Google to search for products—and Google knows it. Now, with the introduction of Shopping Actions, the company wants to turn those search queries into actual purchases—while remaining on good terms with retailers, announced Google’s Daniel Alegre, president, retail and shopping, during Las Vegas retail conference Shoptalk on Tuesday.

Shopping Actions allows consumers to buy items through either Google Assistant or sponsored shopping ads that show up adjacent to search results. The partnership is free, and retailers are only required to share the portion of a sale, if one occurs. Through Google Express and Google Assistant, consumers can save their payment information and add items to their cart either from the web or through a Google Home and checkout.

So far, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Costco, Ulta Beauty and 1-800 Flowers are part of the new program. Ulta Beauty has seen a 35-percent increase in value size since joining the program, while Target has seen a 20-percent increase in basket size, said Alegre.

The Shopping Action program is different from what retailers already use to run sponsored ads. “We want your brands to be front and center,” Alegre said. “We know in the end that, even though the consumer is curious, demanding and impatient, what they’re really asking for is a deep personal experience with you and with your brand.”

Alegre noted that Google is the top traffic driver to retailers, and that through shopping ads in the last three years, the company’s sent over 8 billion store visits. He also highlighted that 58 percent of in-store sales were influenced by a digital touch point in 2017—making the need for an offline and online omnichannel experience necessary, especially as Google has seen mobile searches for “where to buy” go up by 85 percent.

“We also know consumers come to Google when they want to shop,” Alegre said, adding that 81 percent of people aged 18 to 34 use Google to aid their shopping experience. “Nobody comes near that stat that Google has.”

Alegre emphasized how it wants to work with retailers to develop a strong partnership—and that the Shopping Actions program is a part of that.

“This really serves as Google’s commitment to making you successful,” Alegre said. “Google is in the business of making retailers successful.”

@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.