|Thu June 10 2010 08:35:38|
Live Blogging Google's Keynote from Stephanie Tilenius
By: Ina Steiner and Greg Holden
Stephanie Tilenius, Vice President of Ecommerce for Google, will give a keynote address at today's Internet Retailer conference in Chicago. It was one year ago that she spoke at the conference representing eBay, where she had been since 2001.
Google is an important part of most online retailers' marketing strategies. According to a presentation by Eric Best of Mercent and Eric Heller of FootSmart.com, 1 in 5 Google searches is product/shopping related, and 40 - 45% of Google Adwords come from the retail vertical.
Stephanie declined an interview, but AuctionBytes will live-blog the session, taking place at 9:30 local Chicago time on Thursday, June 10. Watch this page to hear what Stephanie has to say about Google's long-term strategy in the ecommerce space.
Stephanie Tilenius didn't appear in the hall until the very last minute. She appears to be a woman of mystery. She is going to focus on four areas of e-commerce. The first is mobile. There is an explosion of smart phones going on. Android has been a huge part of their success. We believe the mobile Web is going to be bigger than the PC Web, she says. What are people doing with their phones? Searching and shopping. Mobile phone shopping has grown 30X in recent years.
One of the credos at Google is that we are betting on mobile first. We believe the mobile Web offers a unique opportunity for retailers. Google Goggles takes something you see and transfers it into a query on the Web. You can take a picture of a bar code or DVD. The Web is also social, she says. We are seeing that 19 percent of all tweets are about a product. Twenty percent of those are expressing an opinion about a product. People also want personalized information. Eighty percent of people said they would partner with businesses to help develop goods and services. We invited people to create their own ad for Google and we had 100K responses in two weeks.
(She is showing videos of ads created on Google. I am noticing that she hasn't actually said much about Google's plans yet. She's taking time up with videos which are nice but not hard news.
She mentions a site called Polyvore that enables consumers to create their own fashion designs. Well, cool, but what about Google and how are they going to empower users to create commerce?)
The other trend is local. Finding local businesses on your PC. Almost all consumers (as many as 99 pecent) use the Internet to search the Web for local stores or other resources. Google's Near Me Now helps people do this. Again, this is not news...
We want you to do four things: to enable to be found, make your ads useful, and help create a seamless shopping experience. Today's experience is going to get richer and richer. If you don't innovate, if you stand still, the competition is going to take share away from you. The B2C side is growing especially fast. There really hasn't been enough innovation in the last few years, we think.
1. Be found. Be found through online search. (thanks, I think I knew that already!)
Google Product Pages take product pages from retailers and enable them to find you. We launched a mobile shopping experience with local availability. If you shop in a store we can show you how much inventory is available in your local stores. We are getting lots of demand for this (Well, I admit, I didn't know that.)
What is Google doing to make ads more useful?
1. Site links. Example: Toys R Us. Under a Toys R Us paid ad at the top of a Google search results page, there are links to specific categories within the site.
2. Store locator, a dynamic map that shows stores in a particular area.
3. Product listings. We take a product feed and put prices and stores that carry the item right within the ad.
4. product Extension ads. You choose what features you want in your ad and we will put it there.
5. Click to Call. (on mobile phone). You can just click a phone number and call the company. We are seeing anywhere from a 1 to 30 percent conversion rate from these approaches.
6. Remarketing. If you leave one site and go to another, we can still market to you.
7. Seamless experience bridging online and offline. We think the boundaries between the two will blur. You are seeing a blending of the two. Google Shopper takes the Google Goggles technology to scan bar codes and find local inventory. Shopping using your mobile phone within a brick and mortar store.
Some stats we have been given by B & M and online retailers
Macy's every dollar online drives $6 in store in 10 days.
Harvard Business Review sales revenue from buyers who saw an online ad is three times higher.
Let us know what you think about these features. We will continue to partner the growth of e-commerce.
Now, she opens it up for Q and A:
Q. Throughout the presentation you always talk about big etailers like Sears and Bes Buy. What is Google doing for smaller ones.
A. We serve the whole gamut. Everyone can particiupate.
Q. Can we upload inventory?
A. Yes, absolutely.
Q: Reviews in shopping engine. Is there a way for retailers using other review platforms to have that show up? For isntance, a review platform built into our e-commerce platform.
A: I think we can take it from any platform.
Q. Early on you mentioned 87%, I thought you were talking about the number of people who were in physical percent...?
A: 87% of people who shop in stores research online first before they went in the store. Best Buy had approximately this percentage.
Q. What about Google Checkout? What is Google's commitment to that platform?
A: I'm a little over 3 months into the job and am not going to unveil our new checkout strategy, but we are going to work on checkout, and see if that is something you would like.
Q. Facebook has raised the bar with the ability to target on topics and groups of interest, do you have an answer to that?
A. We are working on initiatives around using personal data. What's interesting about Facebook is they have a lot of info about a eperson but don't have shopping or SKU data. we have more of a targeted ad platform we can drive to close sales.
Q. As far as retailing goes, how much focus would you put on SEO?
A. As a retailer you should be very smart about SEO n SEM. When I was at eBay we did a lot of that.
Q: With Google entering the reailing space versus providing info., how do you go about avoiding conflict, since retailers are providing all kinds of info.
A: We are not a retailer, we are a partner. We are driving retailers to drive their own sales. We are not competing with you.
Q: We are a pet products manufacturer. How can we provide our consumers info. about other retailers online who stock our products. Do you have connectivity to that information on Google? Local inventory levels, he means.
A: We haven't opened that up in an API platform yet, but we should think about htat.
Q: Is Google going to help us with affiliates with keywords who are trying to do brand hijacking? We disable them, and they disable the links, and then the ad goes nowhere.
A: We should help you with that. we try to eliminate that type of thing. We watch for gaming the system and try to shut that down.
Q: For the Google Remarketing initiative would you consider a CPA system?
A: We are testing that out with a handful of retailers and hope to evolve it.
Q: Is there a plan to allow product from member based e-commerce stores, and why is Google search disallowing--Costco, for instance.
A. I don't know why we would disallow it.
Q: Are there any plans for a more approachable customer service department for Google? (Applause!)
A: we got a lot of feedbak on driving better visibility for accounts, but I will continue to push on that and make sure we have the right service levels.
Q: Google is well known for free tools for Web site owners. One of my favorites is inside Web sit search. Now we see a new e-commerce site search, but it doesn't seem to be free. Small retailers would really benefit from that. (He is talking about the product where e-commerce retailers can use Google's engine for their own search.)
A: We are testing the right price points and looking into scaling that.
Q: I'm curious, after a couple of months at Google, what is the difference you are seeing in e-commerce at Google versus eBay?
A: I don't think the attitude toward e-commerce is that different. Both companies are eager to grow e-commerce. Google tends to be across a wider platform with Android and Chrome, and we're trying to figure out the best way to help retailers and develop a scalable model that can work faster.