Amazon is ruling the e-commerce market right now, but if you're a small business, you should consider a new Google shopping program called Shopping Actions. It's all about sponsored ads, and making online purchases easier for customers.
Google searches online, using a mobile phone or with the Google Home speaker, now all tie into Shopping Actions. That means customers can use one shopping cart and save their credit card info. As a business, you benefit from this universal shopping cart system even if your ad pops up on a search and a customer buys from Target, Costco, Walmart or other retailers all at the same time.
There are a few things to know about how it all works and how to get the most out of the program. As a business, you can join the program to help customers find your products when they do voice shopping on the Google Home speaker, search on phones, and use a bot like the Assistant, which runs on both Android and iOS phones. It's a way to make sure your Google ads are part of the Google shopping experience.
1. Know your market options
Google specifically called out certain market segments in their blog post about Shopping Actions, mentioning health and beauty products, pet products, electronics, and home and garden products. There's a reason for this.
If you opt-in to the program, you can expect your ads to show up during the shopping process and when customers use the Google Express service. (It's similar to Amazon Prime, but works with about 40 retailers.) The concept is based on "market basket" shopping. If a customer shops for the Nintendo Switch and searches for a memory card or third-party cable you sell as a merchant, it will show up thanks to Shopping Actions when a customer searches for those items. The customer can add the product in one search on a phone, then later using the Assistant bot, then checkout later.According to Google, Shopping Actions appear within the sponsored Shopping Unit on the Google Search page and on google.com/shopping. Credit: Google
2. Understand the machine learning
It helps to understand how the machine learning works for Shopping Actions. Google talks about relevant ads a lot. In one test search for the Nintendo Switch, other suggested products like the most popular games popped up, as did a new HDTV television. The machine learning can track what customers typically buy when they look for a new game console, so if you are a merchant who can take advantage of that scenario – or offer products that fit into the other popular categories – then Shopping Actions can boost your sales. If your company makes fringe products like stationary, soil treatments or commercial gardening products that don't fit nicely into one of the main categories, you might not get approved for the program.
3. Learn about customer habits
A universal shopping cart, multiple ways to order products on various devices, rewards programs as part of the shopping experience – these are all perks of Shopping Actions. The idea is to pop-up your relevant ad as part of the e-commerce shopping process, and to tap into the powerful search integration on phones, Google speakers, and every Google search.
Yet, if you want to see a big push from Shopping Actions, it helps to know your customer base. If your company that makes pet products, but you've noticed that most, if not all, of your customers either shop in person at your retail store or buy from Amazon, you might not see too many sales if you use the Shopping Actions program. Then again, leveraging every available shopping cart is a good strategy if your product is already sold through the retail partners like Target.
Google seems to want shopping to work like the Chrome browser and Android operating system — multiple vendors, open standards, universal shopping carts. There isn't a Google version of Amazon.com per se, but the ads you buy work alongside all available programs, like Shopping Actions and Google Express. That means it's important to keep track of all the new Google programs and products; to purchase ads you know will work for your market segment; and to understand how the more segmented approach does provide benefits. Customers will search for your products, and Shopping Actions will help them make purchases, as long as you keep track of the multiple avenues for e-commerce available.