|Wed June 6 2012 17:48:56|
Google Hijacks Paid Search Session to Discuss New Trusted Stores
By: Ina Steiner
Google squandered an opportunity to answer questions from online merchants who are concerned about what Google Shopping's move from free to fee will mean for their small businesses. Google Retail Industry Director April Anderson was speaking in a session at the Internet Retailer Conference today entitled, "Paid Search Strategies for the Smaller Merchant," but she instead focused on Google's new Trusted Stores program and did not take questions from attendees.
What Anderson did say about last week's Google Shopping bombshell announcement was that by going to commercial model, it would encourage merchants to refresh their data and keep it up-to-date.
Google's message in the presentation was: Be relevant, be found, be trusted. Anderson outlined the four ways merchants could use Google to "be found" - site links; ad extensions; mobile; and Product Listing Ads (PLA).
Many merchants are unfamiliar with Google Product Listing Ads, and given the fact that merchants who want to have listings appear on Google Shopping will have to use PLA, it would have made sense to explain how the program works.
But the rest of the session focused on Google's new Trusted Stores seal, which is definitely not a "paid search strategy."
Tom Cole of BeauCoup was one of the first merchants to adopt Google's Trust Stores program, and he talked about his site and why he decided to use the seal to promote trust among shoppers. Under other circumstances, it would have been interesting, but I was champing at the bit to get to the Q&A portion to hear what concerns online merchants had, which never came.
In the previous session, "Selling on Third-party Marketplaces: the new reality of competitive partnerships," retailers did have the opportunity to ask questions.
One merchant asked about Amazon Product Ads appearing on the same page as Amazon product listings. She said, for example, that she saw an ad on Amazon for running shoes on the Finish Line website - and now she always goes directly to Finish Line to buy shoes. She wondered why Amazon would run ads for outside websites on product listing pages. (The retailer presenting the session - Richard Sexton of Carolina Rustica - commented, but there was no one from Amazon to address the question.)
Another merchant commented about the pressure to lower prices on Amazon (something that is often referred to as the race to the bottom). He asked, "why are we helping Amazon put us out of business?" Sexton said, "Whether you have the product on Amazon or not, customers will find it on Amazon at the lowest price. That's not going to go away."
Another merchant asked about the difficulties of listing on 3P marketplaces - "I don't have insight into the roadmap on marketplace websites," he said. Sexton responded by saying, "that's why you need a third-party tool."