With the busiest shopping period of the year now underway, Google has introduced a new feature that will thrill retailers promoting their products online – especially if they work in fashion, art or home decor. By using the ‘visually similar items’ link, shoppers who come across something they like but which is not quite right for them can now let Google do the work of tracking down the perfect purchase. The feature is invaluable for retailers selling popular fashion items with unique designer twists or for those competing on price in busy markets.
The visually similar items system has been designed with mobiles as well as computers in mind. The revamped Google Shopping now also lets users determine with a single click if an item is available in a store near them; this makes it a great local search marketing tool, as users can shop around on the high street without having to actually enter every crowded store. A 360º viewing option gives retailers the chance to offer a more comprehensive perspective on products, more akin to examining them in a store.
To make shopping easier to coordinate, Google now also maintains a list of recently viewed products with images at the top of each page in a style similar to eBay’s approach. Shoppers can opt to add a product to this list by clicking save to shortlist. Lists can be saved and shared on Google+, creating a potential alternative to Amazon wish lists. In recent months, discontent with Amazon among assorted groups of customers has led to increasing calls for a major internet player to develop a feature of this type.
Bringing in this change just as the key shopping period commences is great for making headlines but not so good for busy business managers who do not have much time to make the necessary changes to campaigns. The good news is that most of the changes are fairly simple to implement. The only part likely to be time consuming is the rotating product shots, especially for those with many products that could benefit from being shot in this way. Finding a freelance photographer who can do these well is difficult; therefore, the best bet for smaller companies is probably to seek out an agency that can guarantee a reasonable standard of work for the fee paid. Regardless of whether this seems worthwhile, it is almost certainly worth updating shopping profiles to take full advantage of the new system to prevent competitors from gaining an advantage.