It’s fair to say that in the grand scheme of things, the term ‘e-commerce’ hardly sets the pulse racing.
People might tend get a little more animated by terms like social networking, or even search engine optimisation, but e-commerce? It doesn’t really cut the mustard, does it? It’s very dry and definitely not sexy. Yet millions upon millions of people shop online and spend a small fortune. So, doesn’t it make sense to pay a little closer attention to it? If you’re one of those companies who’ve yet to get on board the online retailing bandwagon, or maybe you already have and just fancy a bigger piece of the action, then new e-commerce technology might just help you to achieve the results you’d like.
Google is already a player in the market with its Commerce Search product, but it has had to respond to the changes in this ever-expanding market as customers demand more and more from the product they have purchased. So this week it’s released an update dubbed Commerce Search 3.0, to deliver a search solution which, in its own words, “is designed specifically with online and multi-channel retailers in mind.”
The new features of version 3.0 are tweaks, rather than a general overhaul, but will hopefully make any company’ products easier for consumers to find. Included in the update are ‘search as you type’ functionality, which is essentially a kind of online predictive text, product recommendations and promotions. Google has also another function called Live Local Inventory. The company claim this facility will mean “Multi-channel retailers can facilitate cross-channel product discovery with Local Inventory, which lists local product availability in search results. This cross-channel coordination provides users with a streamlined shopping experience, which can increase conversion, customer loyalty, and sales.”
Google maintain that Commerce Search 3.0 has a major advantage as it’s a hosted software-service solution: any customer using Google Merchant Centre can upload their products, customise the look and feel of their search and receive full analytics integration. As a testament to the success of the new update, Google announced that American company, General Nutrition took less than a week to integrate Commerce Search 3.0 in to its mobile website, and that L’Occitane has also signed up to use the product.
Is there a sting in the tail, or some other drawback that might not at first be obvious?
Well, no, other than the price. Commerce Search 3.0 pricing will start at $25,000 per year so will be way beyond the pocket of many companies, but as Yahoo has just announced it intends to add similar features into its own search facilities in the near future, there may yet be hope for the smaller company out there.