Back in July 2019, Google launched a dedicated Shopping page in the US. The page allows shoppers to compare millions of products from thousands of stores, and in many cases bought directly through Google; customers are directed to a number of third-party sellers for items that are not directly available.
The shopping page was created to help Google regain ground lost to Amazon in terms of searches, as Amazon had reportedly become the go-to platform for users to search for items they wish to buy.
And now, in a bid to win back both sellers and shoppers, Google has decided to scrap fees in the US for retailers to place their products on the Google Shopping search page, rolling it out worldwide by the end of the year. Until now, Google has charged sellers a fee for showing their items in its Shopping tab whenever the product is searched for.
In a blog post, Google’s VP of product management Surojit Chattarjee, said: “These new shopping experiences let people shop and purchase frictionlessly right where they already turn to for research and inspiration: Search, Google Images, YouTube and a redesigned Google Shopping destination.”
While Amazon sellers can list items for free on its platform, it is common for them to pay for their products to feature prominently amid the sea of products. It is understood that Google is expected to introduce a similar model.
The timing of this announcement comes as Amazon struggles with a backlog of orders and mass employee protests during the Covid-19 pandemic. Merchants could also be enticed to move to Google Shopping, if they lost sales when Amazon temporarily stopped handling non-essential orders with its “Fulfilled by Amazon” service (which offers warehouse space, logistics management and delivery for its users).