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Expert Talks Google Product Search Changes

What the change to a paid service could mean for online sellers

Following Google’s recent announcement that it will end its free Google Product Search and replace it with a new, paid service called Google Shopping, The Online Seller spoke with Chris Eckland, the product manager of Auctiva Commerce, a fully featured shopping-cart solution that thousands of sellers use to power their online stores.

We asked Eckland to share his thoughts on what the change could mean for online sellers. Below are his comments.

The Online Seller: What do you think about Google’s change to a commercial model?

Eckland: Hopefully this change will be positive for merchants, as the products presented in Google Product Search become more relevant for buyers, and some of the duplicate or spammy content is filtered out since the service will now be paid. However, I hope the cost is not high. That could impact smaller merchants more intensely than larger, more established merchants.

If the pricing model is correct, the change could be a positive one, over time.

“In the long term, it may help legitimate merchants, as the more dubious stores and content are filtered out of Google Product Search”

The Online Seller: Does it surprise you that Google would charge for its service?

Eckland: No—I’m actually surprised it took this long for Google to monetize this channel. With the millions of products and high traffic volume of Google Product Search, it makes sense that Google would attempt to monetize this in some way. I just hope it is not overly aggressive.

The Online Seller: How will the change affect online sellers?

Eckland: I think it depends on how the pricing model is finalized and how much it costs. It sounds like Google is thinking of using a cost-per-acquisition model, where sellers only pay if the Google Product Search ad yields a sale. Hopefully, this cost will be low enough that it doesn’t destroy our merchants’ profit margins, and they can continue to use Google Product Search since it is a very valuable traffic driver.

In the long term, it may help legitimate merchants, as the more dubious stores and content are filtered out of Google Product Search. Online sellers will also need to be prepared to spend a bit of time learning the new setup and making sure their Google accounts are configured correctly for this change.

The Online Seller: Anything else you would like to add?

Eckland: Soon, we should have tutorials up on the Auctiva Commerce Help site to explain these changes, and address any updates our merchants will need to make. As I understand it, the feed itself is not changing, so the actual Auctiva Commerce updates for this will likely be minimal.

To learn the full details about Google’s change to a commercial model, read Google to End Product Search.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Hi Olga this is a great news and would have to wait and watch what kind of reactions are going to be given for this paid service…

  • Dnnstur

    My reaction is that it destroys the most valuable feature for shoppers: the ability to comparison shop and find the best deal quickly. Seems to me that higher priced merchants are the only ones who could afford the service, so the best deals will be removed from google search. 

  • Jannzcraftshop

    I live in New Zealand and while reading more found this Note: Product listing ads are available in a limited number of countries: The U.S., France, Germany, and the U.K. What happens now? Also I have a very small profit margin for my online shop,  All I can say is thanks very much – NOT!



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