May 19, 2014

Google’s impact on the e-commerce journey

Written By Martin Sandhu

SEO is still an important factor for websites, but the days of it being the be all and end all seem to be behind us. As online marketing trends shift and change the focus has moved toward social and content strategies, however, search is still used a great amount by consumers, particularly when it comes to online shopping. The influence that Google and other search engines have over purchasing decisions and the e-commerce journey is undeniable.

Direct impact on purchases

Figures from the US show that both organic search and paid search have a huge impact on decision making. When it comes to the last interaction before a purchase, organic and paid search play a big part, outshone only by direct hits. Social media, email and display channels raise awareness as opposed to encouraging an immediate purchase.

Local search

One of the major benefits to e-commerce businesses of the boom in mobile device usage is local search capability. GPRS-enabled phones recognise where a user is and direct them to the nearest branch, store, take-away or even post office.

Recent research from Google and Ipsos Media shows that local searches are routine. Four in five smartphone users have used search to find products, services or experiences nearby.

The figures showed that 53% of smartphones users search at home, 51% search on the go and 41% in stores and shopping centres. When searchers are outside of the home, the majority of searches are local (56%), as are 51% of those done in-store

In-store searches

Shoppers in bricks and mortar stores wishing to find out more about a product will more often than not head straight to Google, rather than using an app or asking a retail assistant – purely because they are looking for unbiased views and opinions, be it via review sites, blogs or social media.

The importance of having a well-optimised website and individual product landing pages is clear – in order to maximise sales from on the volume of smartphone traffic utilising search engines for product research and local search it’s essential.