Google has upgraded its “commerce search” offering for retailers, e-commerce sites and manufacturers. Commerce search is a product of the enterprise search team and version 1.0 launched roughly six months ago. Commerce Search 2.0 has more features and the price has been cut in half from $50,000 per year to $25,000 to drive more adoption.
Here are the feature upgrades from the Google blog post:
- More merchant customization: Today we’re introducing a full merchandising dashboard, which gives merchants more control over promotions, ranking rules and filtering. Marketers and product merchandisers can now do all of this themselves—no custom code necessary. New intuitive retailer controls like time-based promotions, navigation bar with filters, and simple product ranking rules mean seasonal optimizations can be done on the fly.
- Better shopper experience: With query autocompletion, retailers can offer common queries to shoppers in real time, as they type, without any custom coding. GCS is also faster and more relevant than before thanks to search quality improvements. Because it’s hosted in the Google cloud, search results are returned to shoppers in less than a second. We’ve also added spelling and stemming dictionaries and new custom synonym options to make shopping on a retail site as easy and accurate as searching on Google.com.
- Improved browsing and navigation: Many shoppers depend on the search bar on retail sites when they’re looking to make a purchase, but some people will always prefer to navigate through different categories and discover new products. Now, Google Commerce Search allows visitors to shop by browsing around your site as well as searching directly for products.
I spoke briefly to product manager Nitin Mangtan yesterday afternoon. He said that Google was the only major vendor to offer a fully hosted, cloud-based model. There are a range of enterprise players that offer competing products, including IBM, but they all require on-site installs.
Among the improved features of Commerce Search, Google is offering auto-complete and search suggestions that are unique to each retailer or manufacturer’s catalog. As the bullets above also indicate, Google now powers browsing and navigation on sites via Commerce Search.
Google provided a range of sites that were currently using Commerce Search including Birkenstock, ChemistDirect (UK), Smart Furniture, DiscountOfficeItems.com.
Digital marketing firm OneUpWeb found in a recent e-commerce study that “e-commerce sites have a 45% task failure rate.” Part of Google’s pitch for Commerce Search is improved usability overall.
I asked how many buyers were using Commerce Search currently. Google declined to give any specific numbers and instead told me that more than 30,000 companies use enterprise search. I also asked whether Google was redistributing the data from the feeds into Google Product Search. Mangtan said that most of the sites it works with already are providing their data to Google Product Search.
I also questioned Mangtan about local or offline inventory and whether Google was getting any of that through Commerce Search relationships — or would be. He said no, this is only about e-commerce.
Finally, I asked whether any of the sites would be incorporating AdWords/AdSense. He said that some retailers might but that was a separate relationship. However, I pointed out that most probably wouldn’t want to serve up ads from competitors that would lure them off the retailer’s site.
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