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Google Sees Amazon as a Major Threat

Citing unnamed sources, the Wall Street Journal says Google is considering the launch of two initiatives that would directly challenge Amazon.com. The first is a Buy button similar to Amazon’s popular “one-click ordering” feature, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The second is a shipping membership program similar to Amazon Prime Shipping and ShopRunner.

Google likes it when people turn to Google.com to start their shopping searches and has developed many features to encourage that behavior. But clearly Amazon is a first destination for many shoppers – especially members of Prime who know they’ll receive free 2-day shipping on most items they order.

We’ve written about what a “buy now” button would look like on Google Shopping – in fact, 6 years ago, we delved into this issue in this article (that’s when it was called Google Product Search and was a free program rather than the current paid-ad platform).

We went a step further, suggesting Google could place product ads with buy buttons right on publisher websites the same way it does with Google AdWords – particularly helpful for niche products such as collectibles.

The Wall Street Journal explained, “Until now, Google Shopping has referred shoppers to merchants’ websites via links in search results. But Google wants to keep users on its own pages longer, rather than send them elsewhere.”

What won’t come as a surprise to online merchants: “Several retailers Google approached were cool to the “buy” button, because they fear price competition in an online bazaar and don’t want to lose control over the image they present to shoppers.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.