|Thu May 31 2012 17:04:54|
How Will Google Shopping Changes Affect eBay, Marketplaces?
By: Ina Steiner
Currently online shoppers will find eBay product listings on Google.com search results pages in a Google Shopping "universal" widget as well as in Google.com/shopping search results. So at first glance, it seems today's news that Google Shopping is killing free listings and moving to a paid-listings model would hurt sellers on marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy. (Google said it will be transitioning to the paid model beginning this summer.)
However, one merchant said the change could actually benefit eBay.
"Sellers like me - who have benefited greatly from the Google product feeds, and who have been able to realize a bit of independence from eBay as a result - are likely to *return* to eBay in order to recover some of the volume that's likely to be lost as Google eliminates the free product-feeds."
eBay, like everyone else, will have to pay for its merchants' listings to appear on Google Shopping starting this fall by using Google Product Listing Ads. I'm waiting to hear back from eBay about its reaction to the news, but other, smaller marketplaces who have weighed in say today's announcement is bad news for them.
One marketplace executive was actually skeptical that Google would go through with the changes. "My hunch is that they're probably testing the waters with this idea to see how much merchant anger it stirs up, and (more importantly) whether they can actually get everyone to pay. My hunch is that it will prove difficult."
Another replied via email, "All I can say is that the change will impact us negatively. I am not sure to what extent but we will find out this fall."
An executive representing a third marketplace, whom I quoted in today's news story, estimated sales would decrease 20 - 30% for his marketplace once the listings no longer appeared in Google Shopping results.
We'd like to know what you think of Google Shopping's new approach. We're conducting a survey to see how online merchants and marketplace sellers will be impacted - please take the survey now, and leave your comments below.