Google launches fresh attempt to compete with Amazon on online shopping

Jérôme de Guigné
3 min readAug 3, 2020

It’s the final frontier: pretty much the only area Google doesn’t dominate internet searches is in eCommerce.

While consumers tend to use Google to find almost anything else, when shopping online they are more likely to head straight to Amazon and search from there.

And, given Amazon’s rapidly-growing advertising platform, and the rise of internet shopping during the pandemic, that’s a problem Google wants to overcome.

It has already tried several times to conquer the eCommerce market, without great levels of success. Google Shopping Express became Google Express, which last year merged with Google Shopping, launched many years ago as Froogle.

But this year may be the year it gets into its stride. Google has hired Bill Ready, formerly of PayPal, to head up its eCommerce business. He has said that with many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers still lagging behind on eCommerce, the growth of online sales during the pandemic has been swallowed up by a smaller number of big players.

What are the changes?

In April, Google Shopping reversed its policy of requiring sellers to buy ads to list products, and allowed these free listings to appear in search results.

Now it has gone a step further, waiving commission fees and allowing sellers to use third-party payment sites, starting with Paypal and Shopify, in a bid to lure more retailers to the platform.

It says: “These changes are about providing all businesses — from small stores to national chains and online marketplaces — the best place to connect with customers, regardless of where a purchase eventually occurs. With more products and stores available for discovery and the option to buy directly on Google or on a retailer’s site, shoppers will have more choice across the board.”

Anything else?

It’s also providing some new tools allowing retailers to import their inventory more quickly and easily, and it’s adding a small business filter on the Google Shopping tab to allow shoppers to support smaller retailers.

The changes are being rolled out in the US first, then internationally later this year and in…