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by Stephen Logan on 5th November 2009
As the dominant name in online search, Google’s move towards integrated search for ecommerce websites seems a logical one. Now, for just $50,000, an online business can have Google Commerce Search provide them with comprehensive cataloguing and high speed search for their products.
In an age where the speed and accuracy of search are becoming increasingly important for consumers, Commerce Search might provide an invaluable tool to websites. To take advantage of the service you simply need to pay the subscription (this will cover an initial 10 million search queries (0.5 cents each) then provide Google with the details for each one of your products and offers; they’ll do the rest.
The basic idea behind Google Commerce Search is that consumers are often dissuaded to buy from websites that have slow or faulty search functionality. Therefore by providing a quality search feature a site can retain a user’s attention, improve the chances of converting to sales and even encourage repeat custom.
It is a cloud based system too, so whilst you will have control over alterations to costs, product levels and promotions, Google will host this information remotely. The cost will be prohibitive for many ecommerce sites, whilst others may question whether the integration of a professionally managed search feature will really improve revenue sufficiently enough to justify its inclusion.
Google already provide many of the tools that make tracking the progress of ecommerce websites, not least Analytics and Webmaster Tools. There is, hypothetically speaking, a risk that a website could become too dependent on Google if they were to also adopt Commerce Search as well. Conversely Google, as previously stated, are the major innovators in search and have been helping millions of websites to achieve better results through their products and services.
For those businesses who perhaps cannot afford this kind of dedicated service, Commerce Search should act as a refreshing wake-up call. Site speed is paramount to your success as an online retailer. People simply won’t wait 10 seconds plus for a page to load or a search to finish. Consumers demand instant results that reflect their requirements. Google have recognised this and used their own status and prowess to develop a system that can help site owners.
If financing a specialist search feature for your site isn’t high on your priorities, or even if it is, make sure that everything else is in place. Ensure links work, that products are properly titled and that the page layout is easy to follow. Promotions and prices are more subjective, consumers might not like a slow site, but they won’t be too pleased using a fast one with exorbitantly inflated product costs either. That’s where the need to understand your visitors’ habits is essential. A low conversion rate can happen for any reason; price, speed, design, layout or navigation, if any of these fail, so could you. Google Commerce Search can help with your search speed, but it won’t cure more fundamental issues on a site.
It’s certainly an interesting concept; but if you want to find out more visit the Google Commerce Search site where you’ll find all of the facts and stats about this new service. Will it be a huge success? At $50,000, the cost will certainly alienate quite a few sites but there is value to be had one would imagine. However, it does represent yet another avenue for Google to explore and monetise, helping to expand their search empire to a whole new sector.