Google considers ‘buy’ button in direct Amazon challenge

Google is rumoured to be in talks with retailers to add a ‘buy’ button to its Google Shopping feature, in a more direct challenge to e-commerce giant Amazon.

The discussions centre around the addition of a ‘buy’ button that would mirror Amazon’s ‘one-click ordering’ feature, the WSJ reports. Until now, Google has merely directed shoppers directly to merchant websites, but is working on a plan to keep people on its own pages for as long as possible.

Google would not be responsible for selling or shipping the products itself. Rather, the tech-giant hopes that streamlining the shopping experience will keep people searching for products on Google rather than Amazon. In order to do so, Google would take shoppers shipping and payment information just once, and pass on the information to the merchant that the shopper wishes to purchase from.

Over the last few years Amazon has robbed Google of its retail-based search majority.  In the third quarter of this year, 39 per cent of U.S. online shoppers began researching their purchases on Amazon, while only 11 per cent started on search engines like Google. In 2009, the figures were much different – 24 per cent started on search engines and 18 per cent on Amazon.

Google is also struggling to keep up in the mobile commerce sphere, where shoppers often go directly to apps such as that offered by Amazon, eBay or individual merchants rather than searching on Google.

WSJ sources said that the discussions are still in preliminary stages and may amount to nothing, not least because of a cool reception from some online retailers who fear competition in an online bazaar set-up. But while some prefer to retain traffic on their own website rather than losing it to Google, others fear Amazon more. Unlike Google’s proposed set-up, Amazon sells products itself and does not share customer data with merchants.

Amazon also often beats individual merchants with its commitment to fast shipping. The new set-up with Google would, according to WSJ sources, allow merchants to advertise two-day delivery under the Google umbrella.

Online shoppers are showing a marked distrust of e-commerce sites and internet technology companies, according to a Bizrate survey published earlier this week.

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