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Google Expands eCommerce Offering, Partners With Shopify

Google talks up Shopping Graph at I/O conference

Google has announced several expansions to its eCommerce offering that should get brands and marketers pretty interested this week at its annual I/O Conference.

One of those is the growth of its Shopify partnership, a few increased ways to shop and the introduction of the Google Shopping Graph.

One big Shopify announcement

Now all 1.7 million merchants who sell on Shopify will have discovery across Search, YouTube, Shopping and Images turbocharged. Everyone who sells on the platform will also be eligible for Google's free listing – a handy boost in the penny-pinching COVID era.

The expanded Shopify integration will allow merchants to sign up quickly and have their products appear across the whole of the Google eco-system in places like Lens, Maps and Images.

How could you say no?

The latest Shopify update builds upon the Google Shopping foundations laid down last year.

Google Shopping Foundations

In 2020, Google offered a major boost for organisations struggling with COVID-19 by opening its Shopping search results to unpaid, organic listings.

The Google Shopping tab results now consists primarily of free product listings, helping merchants better connect with consumers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google.

Before last year's announcement, Google Shopping was only available as a paid solution to advertisers and widely regarded as the gold standard of search advertising.

Just as Google doesn't charge sites to be part of the Google Search index, listings for participating retailers are eligible to appear in these results at no cost to them. Paid listings continue to appear in ad slots and operate in essentially the same way as before.

Since last year's developments, Google has seen 80% more merchants selling their wares via the platform, feeding into the wider Google Shopping Graph.

Bill Ready, President of Commerce and Payments, Google

"The Shopping Graph is a dynamic, AI-enhanced model that understands a constantly-changing set of products, sellers, brands, reviews and most importantly, the product information and inventory data we receive from brands and retailers directly, as well as how those attributes relate to one another."

The Shopping Graph, formally announced this week, sounds similar, in principle, to the Knowledge Graph that underpins certain types of search results.

For example, search "Sherminator" on desktop (why not? It's Friday afternoon), and you will see an infobox appear on the right-hand-side containing information/images/links on the legendary American Pie character, with the information gathered from a variety of sources.

Google Shopping Graph

The Shopping Graph works similarly, although via product information submitted to Google via the Merchant Centre or Manufacturer Centre.

Bill Ready, President of Commerce and Payments, Google

"With people shopping across Google more than a billion times a day, the Shopping Graph makes those sessions more helpful by connecting people with over 24 billion listings from millions of merchants across the web. It works in real-time so people can discover and shop for products that are available right now."

The Shopping Graph has vast potential within the retail sector since its deep understanding of the products for sale online means that Google can help shoppers find stuff to buy in innovative ways. One such method is within images.

With Google Lens, for example, you can take a screenshot, open it within Google Photos and find the option that says 'search inside screenshot.'

Once that's been done, Google Lens will find the products it can identify and show you where they can be bought.

On top of this, new Cart Reminders will also now show previews of products that users have left in their shopping carts across various retailers.

Bill Ready, President of Commerce and Payments, Google

"We're introducing a new feature in Chrome that works locally on your device to let you see your open carts when you open a new tab. So when you step away or browse on other sites, you can pick up your shopping right where you left off."

Spare a thought for poor shopaholics… it sounds like the Shopping Graph isn't taking any prisoners.

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