You may remember the age old saying ‘Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.’ Well, Google is a friend and a foe in retail: a friend because you have access to an enormous marketplace, and a foe because they take away your business. In this article, I would like to highlight three of Google’s innovations which you should definitely keep an eye on. And to keep it fun, I will also highlight three of Google’s failures.
- The buy button
You search for products on Google, you compare products with Google Shopping and well, why not buy products now that you’re there anyway? Since June 2017, a buying button is available for a big group of retailers. The advantage of this: you are getting precedence in the search results but the disadvantage is that you don’t get a lot of visitors to your own web shop anymore. The customer buys through Google who will take the cash and you are left with the unenviable task of wrapping and shipping of products while handing in your margins to Google. This arrangement might be okay for the short term but it will be harmful to your web shop in the long term. However, the buy button will be embraced anyway, simply because it provides you with a form of revenue.
How good is your stock registration? Most garden centres will not be ready for it but Google is already showing stock levels of brick & mortar stores. This is actually a golden opportunity since Google will show product information, pricing and distance to the garden centre selling these items. Imagine your local customers end up in your garden centre via this feature! Keep in mind that Google analyses all data and therefore they know exactly in which city a particular product will be in high demand. This data is worth a lot of money and I’m sure Google knows how to capitalize this. In the mean time, be sure to plug in to attract more customers!
- In-store navigation
If your stock registration is up to date, you might as well connect shelf numbers to this. This way, you can lead your customers to the right shelf via Indoor Mapping. It is a very convenient service for customers if they are in a hurry and Google is playing around to make this happen.
Out of these three features, the first two definitely will have or already have had an impact on your garden centre. Note that not everything Google invents is a success, as seen with the following failures. Yes, even Google fails.
- Google Plus
Google Plus was intended to be larger and more successful than Facebook but in reality, it is more like a Chinese ghost town: it exists and looks nice, but there is no one there. Google Plus is currently being used by a group of marketing freaks but is a huge flop besides this. It has never had the reach that Facebook has and never will!
Competing with Facebook didn’t go well but they also wanted to compete with YouTube. Google Video started in 2005 but was never really been embraced, accepted or adopted. Which is why Google bought YouTube in 2006 for the paltry sum of $1.6 billion dollars. I say paltry as YouTube is by far one of the biggest platforms in the world nowadays and its value will probably be 100x higher today. Great deal for Google but it started with a big flop.
- Google Glass
Many techies around the world were raving about it, but after all the hype and attention, it was a flop! The clever glass which was meant to make the smartphone superfluous will be in the same fail corner as the 3D television. Privacy objections and the not very sexy look caused Google Glass to fail. Google Glass is still alive but only for technical and medical purposes. Fortunately, the time hasn’t yet come around that we are seeing crowds of people walking the streets wearing Google Glass.
Please don’t make the mistake to think that showing your stock and the buying button won’t have any effect on your company because it will. Google AdWords and Google Shopping are the most successful services of Google and therefore these additional features will also score highly with the consumer.