EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2821 - June 07, 2012     2 of 5

Merchants Give away Crown Jewels with Google Trusted Stores?

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Google announced last week it was expanding its Trusted Store seal program (and today announced the official opening of the program to all U.S. merchants). But do merchants understand both the benefits and the possible drawbacks of participating in the program?

Merchants who wish to participate in Google Trusted Store must place javascript code on their website in order to display the Trusted Store seal to visitors across their website, giving Google access to traffic data. (Many already do if they use Google Analystics.) They must also allow Google onto the order confirmation page, where Google can see the Order ID and the estimated delivery time, and must send Google tracking numbers to show the items have shipped.

Tom Fallows, Google Product Manager for Google Shopping, said the program lifts conversion rates and gives smaller- and medium-sized merchants who don't have a nationally known brand a way to show shoppers they are trustworthy.

But merchants must realize what they are getting in exchange, according to Wes Sheperd, CEO of ChannelIQ. "That's a significant move for retailers," he said. "They are handing over tracking, order and pricing information to Google, which are the crown jewels of data. And sell-through data is the end-all and be-all of data."

Retailers need to find out what they'll get in return and determine the long term implications. If Google can see that your competitor is getting better conversion than you, they may shift more traffic to your competitor, he speculated.

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."

Merchants are still reeling from news that Google will remove free listings from Google Shopping, and may feel they need to participate in Google Product Listing Ads and Trusted Stores in order to have any visibility in Google Shopping and in the Google Shopping widget on search results.

About the author:

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

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