As the holiday shopping season starts to get into full swing, Google this morning announced a brand-new design for its Shopping vertical, the Google Shopping search engine. This is the largest mobile redesign the service has had to date, and it offers a variety of new elements aimed at helping consumers better discover and locate products they’re interested in, says Google. That also now includes more easily checking the availability of products at nearby stores.
According to Google, the redesign was prompted by the shift the company has been seeing when it comes to shopping-related searches – that is, as of this fall, more shopping-related searches took place on mobile devices instead of desktop computers.
To better address the way consumers today shop – in shorter bursts on their smartphones, instead of longer, Black Friday weekend marathons – Google has updated its Shopping mobile experience to feel more like a mobile application, with features that let you tap and swipe to navigate through its many pages.
For starters, Google Shopping will now help shoppers narrow down their searches when they enter a broad search term, as 40% of shopping searches today involve. Similar to how Google Images will show you subcategories related to a given search term so you can better find the right photo, Google Shopping will now do something similar by showing consumers the most commonly searched categories related to their search query.
For example, if you type in “droids,” Google Shopping will return options like “Collectibles,” or “Dolls, Playsets, & Toys” as subcategories you can further explore.
In addition, when you search for a certain item, like “tricycles for kids,” Google Shopping will now let you filter the list by attributes that people commonly shop for, like features (“folding,” “recumbent”), brand, and price, says Google.
For consumers, the experience is an improved way to narrow down what you’re looking for while searching, but for merchants it means those who click through to their site are more likely to find the item what they wanted at the price they want, having already done their comparison shopping.
This comparison shopping is also being enabled by another added feature that lets you browse through your narrowed-down options without having to load new pages in order to see more product information.
Instead, shoppers can tap on a product, browse images, skim reviews, and read the product description without having to visit the retailer’s site. They can then swipe over to see the next product in the list, or delve deeper by reading specs or watching videos all while still using Google Shopping.
When the shopper is ready to buy, they can click through to online stores or find the product locally. The service will also now better highlight which nearby stores have the product in-stock by applying the “available nearby” filter. After doing do, Google Shopping will switch over to a map view that shows all the closest stores that have the product, and their distance to you.
Google Shopping has been able to point users to local availability in the past through Product Listing Ads on desktop and mobile, and it later integrated this availability feature into Google Now. But now the option to see your local retailers’ inventory is being surfaced upfront, says Google. The change comes at a time when Google has seen shoppers using their smartphones as a guide to local stores, which is why it wanted to capitalize on this behavior – since 2011, mobile searches with the term “near me” have increased 34x, the company notes in a related merchants’ guide.
The new Google Shopping experience is rolling out now on the mobile web.