As we enter the holiday shopping season, Google is ramping up its product search efforts. As we know from research data, more than 46 percent of in-store purchases are influenced by online research. The online-research for offline purchases market is huge ($917 billion to be exact), and Google wants to be the go-to destination for holiday shopper this year.
Google is expanding its Blue Dot Specials feature (which launched earlier this year on mobile search) by offering more data on whether a product is available in a nearby brick and mortar store. Google has partnered with over 70 retail brands, including Best Buy and Williams-Sonoma, as well as software manufacturers like JDA, Epicor and Oracle, to show shoppers whether a product is available in a nearby store or location. This data will be available in search under the “nearby stores link.”
To help shoppers find product on the go, Google is improving its mobile shopping app (which the search giant says has 2.5 million downloads) with new search filters like “price” and “brand.” The app also includes previously features such as Local Availability, voice search and barcode scanning.
And Google has added new discovery tools for online shoppers and searchers called popular products and aisles. The popular products feature shows you the most viewed products in your search category. So if you searched for a coffee makers, Popular Products would show you what coffee makers are being viewed the most within Google Product search. Aisles is a lot like what it sounds like; it essentially puts products into sub-categories. So within a search for a coffee maker, you can search for specific machines within the drip coffee makers aisle.
In terms of product search and shopping, it looks like this is a big week for the search giant. Google is expected to debut a new fashion and shopping site called Boutiques this week and Google Product search has now been revamped for a better experience for shoppers.
One important factor to note in Google’s product search is that the company is taking a big bet on the online search to offline buying experience for the holiday season. The Forrester data cited above was collected and published earlier this year, so I’m curious if that trend continues to grow over the next few months. E-commerce sales continue to rise, so it should be interesting to see if the online to offline shopping trend is effected by this.