Google is getting into the buyer protection business. Anyone who visits eBay is familiar with its buyer protection badge designed to make buyers feel safe making purchases from third-party merchants. Now Google will display its own badge next to third-party merchants it deems a "trusted store" on its Google Shopping site, which some believe is transitioning into a marketplace itself.
While attending the Internet Retailer conference in Chicago the first week in June, I had a chance to sit down with Tom Fallows, Google Product Manager for Google Shopping, to talk about the Trusted Stores program. He explained that merchants participating in the program must send tracking information to Google so it can ensure merchants are fulfilling orders in a timely fashion.
Fallows said the badge increases trust and said early pilot testing with 50 merchants showed the badge boosted conversion rates. You can read more in this EcommerceBytes Newsflash article, "Google Offers Purchase Protection when Buying from Trusted Stores".
I also talked to merchants and vendors to get their reaction to the expanded Trusted Stores program. In this article, "Merchants Give away Crown Jewels with Google Trusted Stores?", Wes Sheperd of ChannelIQ explained that by participating in the program, merchants are handing over their "crown jewels of data" to Google.
Online sellers are already concerned about Amazon having so much proprietary data about their businesses, and now Google wants the same. Sheperd compared Trusted Store to AdWords - "It's a vortex - once you're in you can't get out, and there is a new set of rules." Of course, merchants are already giving Google access to traffic data if they use Google Analytics on their websites.
I can't tell you whether to sign up for Google's Trusted Stores program or not. It's up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide if it's right for you - be sure to read both articles if considering signing up for the program.
Internet Retailer Conference Coverage
The Internet Retailer conference was packed with even more people this year (over 8,000 merchants and vendors). I blogged about Day One and Day Two, and I also did a few podcast interviews while at the show, you can listen to them on the EcommerceBytes Industry SoundBytes page.
USPS to Expand Package Delivery Options?
Kenneth Corbin covered the PostalVision 2020 conference that was held in Washington, DC last week. As he explained, the two-day event focused a wider lens on the financial crisis facing the U.S. Postal Service than the typical policy discussions about how to preserve the faltering agency. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe still wants to move to a five-day delivery schedule, but opened the door to expanding delivery options for packages, suggesting it could offer night-time and even Sunday delivery. Depending on the specifics, that is something smaller merchants could get excited about!
Majority of Readers Impacted by Google Shopping Developments
In light of Google's announcement that it would be eliminating free listings on Google Shopping (aka Product Search), we conducted a survey to find out how readers were using the program and what they planned to do once it goes to a paid-only model.
The majority of respondents (86%) said they currently send a Google Product Search feed to Google, and 54.2% said at least 20% of their website traffic come from Google Shopping. We'll be publishing the full results of the survey in this week's EcommerceBytes Newsflash.
While at the Internet Retailer conference, I conducted a video interview with Sam Shearer of Ortery who demonstrated the company's photo studios. It is an impressive device for taking product pictures more easily and efficiently - you can see the demo on our YouTube channel.
Taking photos is an important part of any merchant's business, and today, Contributing Editor Greg Holden takes a look at the HP TopShot LaserJet Pro M275 printer with 3D scanner developed specifically for small online merchants.
Also in today's issue, AuctionBytes Blog Editor Julia Wilkinson reviews some of the repricing strategies small Amazon.com sellers use to help them price products competitively and help them win the Buy Box. Real-life auctioneer Wayne Tuiskula lets us in on some trade secrets from New England pickers he's come to know - you may be shocked at some of the stories he relates - and Collectibles Editor Michele Alice has been keeping up with the news and has three interesting tidbits that are a must-read if you follow the world of collecting. And of course we have a roundup of Letters from Readers, and we hope you'll weigh in with your own stories - send an email to ina at auctionbytes dot com and let me know what's on your mind.
Happy Father's Day, and have a happy Independence Day and Canada Day. Thanks for reading!