Google is going after Amazon with new online shopping expansion

By Alma Fabiani

Published May 23, 2021 at 09:20 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

During its conference for software developers, Google I/O, which kicked off on Tuesday 18 May, Google announced that it is deepening its partnership with Shopify by letting the company’s 1.7 million merchants make their products more discoverable in Google Search (and elsewhere). The move is an attempt to compete against a small internet firm called Amazon. Ever heard of it?

Although the company didn’t offer many details about the integration just yet, it said it will allow Shopify businesses to appear across Google Search, Maps, Lens, Images and YouTube “with just a few clicks.” As Amazon continues to increasingly compete with Google on search ads for commercial queries, which typically means a consumer is actively considering a purchase, it is expected to earn 19 per cent of all search ad revenue in 2021, compared with about 57 per cent for Google, according to eMarketer. In other words, Amazon is threatening Google’s core ads business, so Google is fighting back.

“Shares of Shopify popped as much as 4% on the news, closing up more than 3% on the day,” reported CNBC on Tuesday. But what does Google’s move mean exactly? In a blog post, the tech giant explained that this expansion will make Shopify merchants’ products more discoverable across its various properties. “We believe you deserve the most choice available and we’ll continue to innovate on shopping every step of the way,” said Bill Ready, president of commerce and payments at Google, during a presentation at I/O.

But Google is not stopping there—of course not, it’s going after Amazon remember? Separately, the company announced other enhancements to its e-commerce functionality. For example, Google’s Chrome browser will persistently display shopping carts when people open new tabs, so they can return to shopping after doing other tasks. Sounds pretty basic, but think of how many times you’ve left a cart halfway through and decided to get back to it only to find it empty? Correct me if I’m wrong, but nine times out of ten, I won’t bother doing it all over again.

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, online retailers—mostly Amazon though—reaped huge profits after most of us turned to retail therapy in order to cope with the lockdown blues. Around the same time, Google said it was waiving commission fees for merchants that participated in its “Buy” programme, which allows consumers to search for and check out retailers’ products directly on its platform without being directed to retailers’ sites.

The company also said it would be opening its platform to third-party providers, including PayPal and Shopify, to allow retailers more buying options outside of its own platform. “As we eliminate barriers like fees and improve our technology, we’ve seen a 70% increase in the size of our product catalog and an 80% increase in merchants on our platform,” read its blog post.

Google’s so-called ‘Shopping Graph’ will now begin to pull together information from across websites, price reviews, videos and product data pulled directly from brands and retailers to help better inform online shoppers about where to find items, how well they were received, which merchant has the best price, and more.

But before any of this can really work, the company needs consumers to find shopping for products via Google actually useful. That’s where Shopify comes in. Although this integration doesn’t mean that every Shopify storefront will be included on Google (the merchants have to take an action to make that happen), it would be foolish for them not to leverage the new option. Shopify isn’t playing favourites when it comes to distribution, however. It’s integrated with other large platforms, too, including Facebook and TikTok, and it’s been working with Walmart to expand the retailer’s online marketplace as well.

So, what do you say? Shall we boycott Bezos’ baby and settle for the lesser of two evils instead?

Keep On Reading

By Abby Amoakuh

Black models boycott Melbourne Fashion Week to protest racial discrimination

By Charlie Sawyer

Is John Pork calling or is he dead? Chatting with the creator of the viral meme that had us all hooked

By Abby Amoakuh

Trump to face trial in hush money case, as Fani Willis defends romantic relationship in Georgia case 

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

From Iwájú to Soul, here are 5 must-watch animations you need to see this Black History Month

By Charlie Sawyer

Usher Super Bowl 2024 halftime show: Justin Bieber to make comeback as special guest

By Abby Amoakuh

Noah Schnapp faces renewed controversy after apology video and defence from Stranger Things co-star

By Charlie Sawyer

How to get Glastonbury 2024 tickets using this tried and tested method

By Alma Fabiani

Biden’s impeachment inquiry explained and how abortion will impact the 2024 US elections

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

From Love & Hip Hop to the latest Offset drama, let’s unpack the queen that is Cardi B

By Charlie Sawyer

Belle Delphine reveals how much money she makes on OnlyFans in new Louis Theroux podcast

By Abby Amoakuh

Is BLACKPINK near its end? Recent contract negotiations have fans worried

By Alma Fabiani

This Texas zoo lets you name a cockroach after your ex and have it fed to an animal

By Charlie Sawyer

Tucker Carlson pranked by YouTuber pretending to be Kate Middleton whistleblower 

By Alma Fabiani

Travis Scott caught spray painting over John McEnroe’s Hall of Fame plaque

By Abby Amoakuh

Woman inspired by Netflix docuseries Don’t F*ck With Cats butchers cat and man in brutal murder

By Alma Fabiani

Cult leader accused of being behind 400 deaths including 191 children

By Charlie Sawyer

Side hustles are going to be taxed in the UK in January 2024. Here’s everything you need to know

By Charlie Sawyer

Jennifer Coolidge thanks evil gays during Emmy Awards 2024 acceptance speech

By Abby Amoakuh

Marjorie Taylor Greene clashes with reporter over Jewish space lasers conspiracy theory

By Charlie Sawyer

Why is #FreeLiamNissan trending on Twitter and what does Elon Musk have to do with Liam Neeson?