Google says it's "building on the capabilities that have proved useful to" its retail partners, with a new system that will "help create an even more interactive and engaging experience for shoppers and retailers." Google even toots its own horn a little, noting that when sites like BabyAge incorporated Commerce Search it resulted in a 64% increase in site searches—an indicator that customers are spending more time digging through the site, and have a better chance of actually buying products rather than bailing.
Google sees its Commerce offering as a powerful tool for online retailers, even an evolution of the way the entire shopping experience happens. Its new features include a variation of Google Instant, "search as you type" which provides "instant gratification to shoppers" because as they search for a particular product then different suggestions pop up underneath the search box. There's also a new local product availability facility, which means online retailers could inform digital shoppers that a nearby store has the product they're searching for. "Enhanced Merchandising" gives retailers the ability to pop up additional info alongside search queries—perhaps tempting consumers toward a particular product the merchant wishes to promote. Finally, there's an experimental recommendations engine which tells shoppers "what others viewed and ultimately bought."
It's clever stuff, and could easily boost sales for Google clients (and possibly deliver detailed data to Google to help it profile which type of consumer is habitually searching for and buying which products). We also sense that this could be the groundwork for a rich NFC-enabled shopping experience somwhere down the line. If shoppers in real stores had access to this kind of rich data, accessed via Google's engine through local NFC tags instead of online search parameters, then they'd also benefit from the same sort of assisted shopping experience.
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