Google to Start Selling Products & Why You the Savvy Consumer May Care

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Google Shopping Comparison & New “Buy” Button

Over the past few years we have seen Google delve into a variety of different businesses. Often they dabble and leave, but it is clear in certain arenas the company is serious about keeping their business model fresh and relevant. In that vein, the company is looking to change their product search service by selling you products directly. Well, sort of.

Back in the good old days of a decade ago, when you would want to compare prices on an item, you could go to Google Shopping and search. Google would then provide you the cheapest prices displayed in a sortable table. At some point a few years ago that service went away, although Google was a little sneaky about it.

google buy button
Product results on a search page. These are actually affiliate ads as you may see from the term “sponsored”.

You see, they still have a price comparison when you search for a product, but the only prices you see now are from their affiliates. If you click through to buy a product, Google makes some $$$. In other words, just like everything else on Google, those listings are an ad.

Yesterday an article in the Wall Street Journal indicated Google is looking to take this service to another level. Starting within the next couple of weeks, when consumers search for a product on mobile, they will see those same listings, but now with a “Buy” button. (As of now this will only be on mobile devices.)

Google won’t be selling the products themselves, but instead will be teaming up with merchants to provide the service. What is interesting is that your payment data stays with Google and you checkout on Google’s page. So in a way Google is capturing very valuable data about you while sort of cutting the merchant out. That seems to be something they are quite good at.

What concerns me is that Google has thrown out the relevancy of their search results with this new service. In the past you would see those ads, but most likely would reach the real search results. Now that “Buy” button is designed to whisk you away into a purchase before you can even compare or shop.

The Savvy Consumer Wins

This is just another example of why it really is important to be a savvy consumer. Imagine how much Google is making off of affiliate income if they are changing their whole structure when it comes to these results? This money is driving innovation that isn’t necessarily good for us.

As technology progresses, companies are working to find new ways to sell you things on a whim. I imagine that once you setup your payment data, Google’s “Buy” button will work with a minimal number of taps. The average consumer will love this convenience, but will end up paying far more.

Of course if you are reading this site then you know there are better ways. You should always compare prices and then use a shopping portal when applicable. You can save even more money by buying gift cards for a merchant ahead of time at a discount. (I call these ninja tricks.) In other words, you could easily pay 20% less in many cases than everyone else. Let them have the “Buy” button and you can have your money.

Closing Thoughts

As big data progresses along with technological capabilities, there will be a battle to get into your wallet. When this happens sometimes there are opportunities for people like us to take advantage of the good parts while not falling susceptible to the bad.

Am I excited that Google is adding a “Buy” button? Yes, because it will make Amazon, eBay and others step up to compete, which is good for me the savvy consumer.


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