Google Shopping Redesigned Ahead of Holiday Buying Season
Tech giant Google is ensuring that its shopping search engine is ready to go before the holiday buying season officially starts next week. The company announced today that it has made several updates to the Google Shopping platform, with a particular eye toward optimizing it for mobile searches.
“To help shoppers more easily discover, browse and buy on mobile this holiday season, we’ve redesigned Google Shopping to be incredibly fast, seamless, and intuitive,” the company said today on its AdWords blog. Among the new features are: the ability to narrow searches by keyword; location-based searches that identify which products are in stock at stores near customers; and a more streamlined interface.
Mobile Shopping Surpasses Desktop Searches
The mobile redesign comes at an important moment for search requests. Google said that the number of shopping-related searches on mobile devices has now surpassed the number of searches on desktops. The smartphone share of online shopping purchases has gone up 64 percent over the last year, and 30 percent of all online shopping purchases now happen on mobile phones, according to the company.
Instead of planning marathon shopping sessions that last an entire day, consumers are changing their behaviors to shop in shorter, more sporadic trips. Interest in shopping for the holidays is now being spread out over longer periods of time, rather than being concentrated during traditional shopping marathons such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, Google noted. Customers are also doing more of their mobile shopping during their spare moments while engaged in other activities such as commuting or waiting in lines.
The redesign appears to be Google Shopping’s most significant change to date. The new interface behaves more like a mobile app rather than a browsing experience on a Web page. That should help make it easier for customers to quickly search and swipe for the products they’re looking for while they’re on the go.
The most significant aspect of the redesign is the improved search function, according to the company. Google said that 40 percent of shopping searches are done on broad keyword search terms rather than on specific product names. The search engine will now allow users to enter keywords and it will return the most commonly searched product categories based on the search terms to help the shoppers narrow down their choices.
Navigating through search results has also been improved, according to Google. Users can now search through many different products without having to load entirely new pages to see details. Instead, they can just tap on products, flip through images, skim reviews, and scan product information all on the same pages. They can also swipe to navigate to the next products or bring up specs, features, and even videos.
In addition, users can see which retailers carry the products, and which locations nearby have them in stock. This should help retailers drive more customers to their stores, since a large percentage of shoppers will avoid traveling to stores when they don’t know if they have the products they want in stock, Google noted.