Google Unveils New Shopping Tools
By Ina Steiner
On Monday, Google said searches for the term "holiday gift" had already spiked 156% since November 1st, and searches for "Black Friday" were up 546%. Google is trying to make it easier for holiday shoppers with the unveiling of several new tools recently that help shoppers find, review and share products online.
Google Shopping's holiday toy portal features toys that can be seen in 360-degree view on HTML5-enabled browsers. A 3D swivel icon appears on product images that allows shoppers to explore the toys in 360-degree detail in what Google says brings the "in-store" feeling of holding and touching a product to online browsing. Google said 360-degree imagery is coming for other types of products soon.
Google also introduced new features to let shoppers find product reviews written by someone they know. The company said last holiday season, 67% of shoppers read product reviews before making a purchase.
When you click on a product in Google Shopping search results and scroll down to the Reviews section, reviews from friends and contacts will appear at the top of the list.
People can also write their own product reviews on Google Shopping by logging in with their Google+ (Google Plus) account - "click on the product you'd like to review, then click the "write a review" button at the top of the page. Once you submit your review, it will be publicly available to anyone who views that product on Google Shopping. You can also choose to post your review to your Google+ stream."
Google also unveiled "Shortlists," what could be called bookmarks for shoppers. "Instead of using bookmarked websites and docs containing long lists of URLs, or back-and-forth emails with friends, you can now consolidate all your shopping research in one place," Google explained.
As Google Shopping's YouTube video shows, with Shortlists, shoppers can keep track of products they like from both Google Shopping and from across the web. The tool lets shoppers view product photos, prices and specs side by side. And Shortlist are sharable with friends, who can add their own products.
Google announced a promotions feature to merchants last month, and this week unveiled it to shoppers. "To help you make the most of your holiday budget, Google Shopping now shows discounts or promotions on the products you're viewing," it explained. "If discounts or promotions are available, you can click on the link and visit the retailer's site to redeem the offer."
Google Shopping also expanded "visually similar" results to more types of products and categories, including jewelry, coats and handbags.
The company is also promoting current Google Shopping features such as Google Trusted Store logos; its improved Google Shopper 3.0 mobile app for Android devices; and holiday catalogs from top retailers.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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