Brace yourself, Amazon. Google Shopping Actions is about to shake things up.
It's been a long time since there was this much buzz about an online selling platform. What makes Google Shopping Actions unique is its combination of clout and infrastructure. Having "Google" on the label doesn't hurt, but having Google Express as an ad delivery system is the real winning detail here.
So what exactly is Google Shopping Actions? Simply put, Shopping Actions enables retailers to display their products on multiple Google platforms via Google Express, including Google Search, the Google Express mobile app and the Google Assistant for mobile and Google Home devices.
Google defines it as “a shopping program that allows retailers to surface their products across different Google platforms.” Essentially, Shopping Actions is what enables retailers to sell on Google Express via mobile, desktop and voice assistant.
Google goes on to explain: “Shopping Actions enables a frictionless shopping experience by using a shareable list, universal shopping cart, and instant checkout with saved payment credentials, allowing customers to easily turn browsing into buying.”
The Shopping Actions program also offers shoppers a universal cart on Google Express that they can use regardless of whether they’re shopping on mobile, desktop, or using voice search.
There’s a lot to unpack, so let’s dive right in!
What's New with GoogleShopping Actions?
Shopping Actions is changing the shopping experience.
Google has added a transactional layer to its powerful Ads platform so that transactions can now be completed in Google. Google processes transaction and sends order information to merchant for fulfillment.
New surfaces are being added to Shopping Actions.
As announced in the Google Marketing Live event, there are new experiences being rolled out that work exclusively through Shopping Actions.
- New Google Shopping homepage that is personalized and customizable
- YouTube to offer shoppable links for products in videos
- Google Images with shopping cart icon
Shoppable Search Results
Individual search results will be designated as shoppable by the use of a shopping cart icon. These will appear in Google search results, Google Shopping ads, image searches and YouTube videos. The shopping cart icon tells shoppers that products can be purchased using the Google checkout.
Voice shopping is trending upward as shoppers find they can complete purchases using Google Home, phones and mobile devices with Google Assistant.
A closer look at Shopping Actions’ Merchant benefits:
Shopping Actions is a retailer-first platform
- Prominent merchant branding
- Google has no intention to become a direct retailer (no competition from channel)
- Google wants to provide merchants with an additional tool to close the purchasing loop seamlessly
A focus on loyalty and personalization
- Easy re-ordering and basket building
- (Again) Prominent merchant branding means shoppers know whom they’re buying from
Google does the heavy lifting
- Google handles first line of customer support and returns
- More uniform experience
- Shopping Actions team works with merchant behind the scenes to ensure shopper satisfaction
- Shopping Actions team works with a set of merchant pre-approved guardrails to be more efficient when dealing with shopper complaints and be able to provide customer support
Pay per sale commission model
- Only pay when sale happens
- No membership fees
- Sales performance
How Do Google Shopping Actions Work?
Shoppers can access the products on Google Shopping Actions in three ways:
- They search on Google Express (an online mall with on-demand home delivery service that’s pretty similar to Amazon’s Prime Now)
- On desktop: express.google.com
- On mobile: Google Express Android app / Google Express iOS app
- They search on Google
- They do a voice search on Google Assistant
Once the shoppers purchase the items they want, their order will be shipped to them.
Google tracks each sale, and at the end of the month, sends the retailer or ecommerce store owner (that’s you!) a commission invoice.
Note: While Google Shopping campaigns operate on a Cost Per Click (CPC) or Cost Per Action (CPA) model, Google Shopping Actions utilizes a Cost Per Sale (CPS) model instead.
If you don’t get any sales via Google, you don’t owe them a single cent.
Pretty awesome, huh?
Who Should Use Google Shopping Actions?
In short: every seller with an online store.
There are plenty of advantages that the Google Shopping Actions program brings to the table.
Here’s a quick summary:
- It allows you to get on multiple Google platforms at once
- It reduces the friction that your customers experience while shopping
- It helps you to cultivate customer loyalty
- It lets you build an email list, and
- You only pay per SALE; it doesn’t cost anything to list your products on the program
In this next section, we’ll break down each of these benefits, and discuss them in further detail.
How Often Are Merchants Paid?
Once an order has been marked as shipped in Merchant Center, it's a signal to Google's systems that the order value is ready to be sent to the merchant's bank account via ACH.
Once a day, a transfer is made for all orders that have been marked as shipped.
Benefits of Google Shopping Actions
1. Get on multiple Google platforms at once
As an ecommerce store owner, your goal is to maximize the visibility of your products, and expose your brand to as many customers as possible.
By showcasing your products on Google.com, Google Express and Google Assistant, the Google Shopping Actions program allows you to do just that!
Now, we know that plenty of ecommerce store owners are still pretty skeptical about Google Assistant. Do people really shop using a voice assistant?
The answer is a resounding YES.
Plus, consider the fact that a Google Home device is sold every second, and that’s been the case since October 2017.
1 in 2 prefer speaking to typing, and Google has over 500 million assistant enabled devices.
Google Assistant is changing shopping as we know it, and it’s important for ecommerce store owners to embrace that change ASAP.
2. Reduces friction that customers experience while shopping
Why do people love shopping on Amazon?
It’s because it’s easy -- you can add items from multiple merchants in your cart, and check out everything at once.
Well, shoppers can now experience the same convenience with Google Shopping Actions.
The program features:
- A shareable list
- A universal shopping cart, and
- Instant checkout with saved payment credentials
...allowing customers to shop with ease.
Google has over 1 billion users across all their properties.
Here’s an example:
Say you’re getting ready for a trip overseas, and you need to purchase packing cubes and a waterproof parka.
You start Googling for packing cubes, and after you’ve chosen and added these to your Google Express cart, your oven pings.
Now, you don’t have to drop your shopping, and come back to it on another occasion.
You can head to the kitchen, and at the same time, continue shopping on your Google Home device.
How do you do this?
Simply instruct your Google Voice assistant to search for your waterproof parka, and add it to the same cart that you accessed earlier.
Once you’re done, you can purchase all the items in your cart using a Google-hosted checkout flow.
How’s that for convenience?
3. Cultivate customer loyalty
With Google Shopping Actions, customers get personalized product recommendations, and they can also re-order products with a single click.
How exactly does it work?
Here’s an example from Google:
“If Kelly does a search for ‘peach blush,’ for example, and she has opted to link her Google account with her Ultamate Rewards status, we’ll recognize this and surface relevant blush results as well as related items -- like makeup brushes -- from Ulta Beauty to help her build a basket with her preferred retailer.”
Google also goes on to say:
“If we know she regularly purchases makeup remover on a monthly basis, we’ll surface the same brand of makeup remover to her, right when she has the highest intent to re-order.”
If you ask us, this is the ultimate win-win.
It benefits the customers, who can purchase the items they’re looking for quickly and efficiently.
72% of voice-activated speaker owners say that it has become part of their daily routine.
It also benefits ecommerce store owners, because it helps cultivate customer loyalty and drive repeat sales.
4. Build an email list
If you’re selling on Amazon, you’ll know that it’s strictly against the rules to send your customers information that pulls them out of the Amazon ecosystem.
This means you can’t send your customers promotional emails that redirect them to your website.
How about inserts and flyers that you include in your physical shipments? Again, if they direct your customers back to your website (not Amazon!), they’re not allowed.
With Google Shopping Actions, on the other hand, it’s a whole different story.
68% of shoppers acquired through Shopping Actions are net new to merchants and are 14% more valuable than those that do not shop with Google Express.
Merchants on Google Shopping Actions get access to all their shoppers’ data, and it’s easy for them to build their email list. During checkout, Google will actually prompt your consumer to sign up for your email list. Pretty awesome, huh?
Once you get your customers on your email list, you can re-engage them, notify them about promotions that you’re running, and encourage them to purchase again...
And both your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and overall revenue will increase.
Mark our words: engaging your customers and remarketing to them is a LOT more sustainable than simply acquiring new customers.
Statistics have shown that acquiring new customers costs 5x as much as retaining current customers, so you’ll definitely want to engage your existing customers and make sure that they don’t churn!
5. Pay per sale model
We’ve mentioned this previously -- merchants on Google Shopping Actions don’t pay per click or per action; instead, they only pay when Google generates a sale.
If you’re a new startup or a small ecommerce store who’s operating on a tight budget, this makes a world of difference.
Retailers using Shopping Actions in addition to Google Shopping search ads see an increase in total conversions at lower cost (compared to shopping ads alone).
Take a look at this post to see the Google Shopping Actions commission rates.
Who's Using Google Shopping Actions?
There are several reputable retailers who are already aboard the Google Shopping Actions program, including Target.
According to Google, these merchants have experienced a 30% increase in basket size on average… which is pretty impressive!
That’s not all -- Google also partnered with MasterCard to do a pre and post study of five different Shopping Actions merchants.
Here’s what they found:
After using Shopping Actions, customers tend to spend more with the same merchant in the four months after they made their initial purchase.
Retailers using Shopping Actions see a 35% increase in average order value.
These are the early days of the program, but the results are pretty promising so far!
Who's Eligible for Google Shopping Actions?
Google’s goal, with Google Shopping Actions, is to make online shopping quick and easy.
So here’s the thing:
In order for a merchant to be eligible for Google Shopping Actions, the transit time of their products must not exceed 10 days.
On top of that, merchants on Google Shopping Actions are also restricted to a maximum product handling time of four days.
If you submit products with handling times greater than four days to Google Shopping Actions, these will not be shown on Google Express or other Google platforms.
Plus, Google reserves the right to automatically cancel orders that aren't shipped within three days of your handling time.
Finally, all merchants have to provide a valid tracking number to their customer within one day of shipment. Here’s a list of supported carriers:
How to Start Using Google Shopping Actions
Before you sign up for Google Shopping Actions, make sure that you’re already set up with Google Shopping.
You can do this at the Merchant Center. You’ll have to verify and claim your URL and upload your product data here.
Once you’re done, head to Google’s Shopping Actions page, scroll down, and fill in the form.
Side Note: GoDataFeed can work with you through our own GSA partnership to aid you in the process.
Then sit tight and wait for Google to approve your application! Once approved, you'll want to get the ball rolling on Google Express.
We’ve said it a bunch of times already and we’ll say it again: Google Shopping Actions is a game changer for retailers.
For years now, Amazon has dominated ecommerce. And because they were the only show in town, retailers had no choice but to pay up (fees, commissions, fulfillment, warehousing, etc., etc., you get the picture).
Now, with the rollout of Google Shopping Actions and this new marketplace-style "online mall" Google Express, we’re betting on Google. And we’re sure retailers will agree. That’s why -- if you want to leapfrog the competition -- you’ll want to get in as early as possible. Don’t wait for your competitors to start selling first.
Submit your interest form now to let us know you want to get started. We'll do our part to help you with the process and guide you along the way.