4 Surprisingly Awesome Google Retail Opportunities for 2014
In the retail sphere, there is a constant need to innovate and approach consumer needs from a different paradigm, with more and more of an overlap between the digital experience and traditional methods.
It's a no holds barred retail world, with $225 billion ecommerce dollars at stake in the U.S. In this crazy competitive ecosphere, major players like Google grapple to re-invent existing systems, and gain ground in spheres of influence.
Here's an interesting look at Google's search evolution:
Google 2013 Ventures
During 2013, Google announced more than 70 launches for Google Analytics alone. Here's a quick look at some of the major areas Google made some headway in for 2013:
Siri advocates have some major competition with Google Now, which has a strong focus on Google learning and adapting to users. During 2013, Google continued to make updates to integrate vocal commands and queries for search. Google's Hummingbird update is largely involved in providing better answers to questions which mimic speech patterns or conversational search. Similarly, Google Glass functions using voice commands.
Wearable tech is the new smartphone for the next generation. Google Glass takes traditional wearable technology and integrates all of the wonder that is Google for augmented search, and arguably an augmented reality.
YouTube is Google $1.65 billion investment, but represents the huge impact of video on retail and the consumer experience with over 44,281 subscribers. Piggybacking on video, Google+ Hangouts are an underutilized Google social resource. This year Google also announced Google Helpouts which integrate with Google Wallet and Google Shopping.
Sixty-three percent of smartphone users under the age of 30 sleep with their smartphone. The mobile experience dominates a large part of the retail experience, as well as navigation, social interaction and daily activities. With devices, Google Now, Google Nexus and Android are giving Apple a bit of a run for its money.
In relation to search and Shopping, Google's mobile experience is seamless with Google Wallet, Google Play and Google Offers.
This year Google updated Maps to include Google offers, updated search and news for mobile users, expanded Google Hotel Finder to mobile, and updated ad display on mobile for AdWords.Google Play is a major destination for apps, games, and more recently books, which are also available on Google Shopping.
Google Shopping paid product ads or Product Listing Ads (PLAs) converted at almost 3 percent last quarter, with over 1 billion products advertised on Google Shopping. Google expanded Google Shopping to include eight new countries, updated the retail experience for Google Shopping campaigns, added more opportunities for site exposure with Google Maps ads, Google+ reviews (shared endorsements), and Google local updates(which are arguably the foreshadowing of a Google Marketplace).
Moving into the tangible shopping world, Google expanded its already promising Google Shopping Express service to include brick and mortar giant Costco, and continues to dabble with self-driving cars.
Analytics and big data are not as vogue or fun as video or social, but it's a huge factor for retail merchants. Google Analytics continues to be a major resource for retailers. At the GA Summit Google announced 70 Analytics product announcements, among which included updated Tag Manager and Cross Device Management. Google Shopping campaigns, Google's latest PLA update also provides a more fluid experience for online merchants to break out product ad groups and track product performance.
Google+ reportedly beat out Twitter with its 359 million users. Although far behind Facebook's 701 million active users Google+ made multiple updates this year including Google+ Google reviews,Google+ and YouTube integration, Google Hangouts, and Google Helpouts.
The retail market is massive, so please note that the above Google 2013 highlights are only a fraction of the places Google is vying for a toehold in retail, let alone within the last year. For a more in-depth look at the various places Google is experimenting with in retail, check out this Google vs. Amazon analysis for 2013.