Google helps retailers like Home Depot fight Amazon

Atlanta Business Chronicle

By   – Bizwomen reporter

Google is teaming up with retailers to turn searches into money-making opportunities, Reuters reports.

Companies such as Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), Costco Wholesale Corp. (Nasdaq: COST) and Ulta Beauty Inc. (Nasdaq: ULTA) can promote products on Google Search, Google Express Shopping Service and Google Assistant on voice devices and mobile phones, per Reuters.

The initiative, called Shopping Actions, is meant to help retailers better compete with Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) by influencing shoppers’ purchasing decisions on cell phones, desktops and smart home devices, according to Reuters. The listings appear as sponsored shopping results and do not affect regular organic search results.

Shopping Actions employs a pay-per-sale model, as Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) takes a portion of each purchase that stems from a search referral, TechCrunch reports. The payment plan is different than Google’s pay-per-click model for advertising, where business pay each time someone engages with an ad, per TechCrunch.

Daniel Alegre, Google’s president for retail and shopping, told Reuters that the idea came from tens of millions of consumers making image searches of products asking “Where can I buy this?” “How can I buy it?” Google’s new program places retailers’ products in the results of such searches.

Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon told Reuters that the company’s average order value has increased 35 percent since partnering with Google.

While Shopping Actions gets underway, consumers searching Google for a certain product are still likely to be steered toward Amazon, Fortune reports. The program should direct traffic away from Amazon and toward the retailers that have partnered with Google.

As part of Shopping Actions, retailers are able to offer customers the option to add items to their Google Express shopping carts using Google Home. Juniper Research found that voice-activated devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo will be in 55 percent of U.S. homes by 2022, according to Sourcing Journal.

Target has seen a 20 percent increase in the number of items in shoppers’ Google Express carts as a result of the new initiative, Reuters reports. Target customers “love the ease and convenience of making their Target run without lifting a finger by using a voice interface,” Target chief information and digital officer Mike McNamara told Reuters.

“This is just the beginning for Target and Google,” he said.