Google wants high-quality product content and data from manufacturers because this information is proven to exponentially drive sales. Google’s new Manufacturer Center is a portal for manufacturers to supply product data and attributes including pricing, inventory levels and high quality images. The alpha version is currently in testing and is only available to a select group of manufacturers. Google plans to expand based on its success. This provided product information will be incorporated in Google platforms like Google Shopping and their new Google Express that includes purchase and delivery as direct competition with Amazon.
Manufacturer Center allows manufacturers to provide better and more accurate information about their products to improve the user experience on the line of Google services. Detailed information and high quality images can influence the prominence of product ads and their ability to attract user interest. Manufacturers are defined as brand manufacturers, brand owners and retailers of own-brand products.
The Game has Changed
Walmart.com is asking for enhanced content. Google wants expanded product data and high-quality images as well. The reason that these huge current and soon-to-be retailers are pressing the issue is their customers are demanding more information. Mobile devices have changed the game. Shoppers are combining online and offline shopping behaviors like never before. The omni-channel shopper is not just online and they are not just in-store. They combine the two methods with shocking frequency and show no signs of slowing down.
Data Leads to Results
Google has released a series of YouTube videos that highlight this phenomenon and use case studies of companies that are winning the omni-channel shopper as examples. Macy’s, the department store giant, found that keeping their online and in-store divisions as separate entities was counterproductive (watch video here). The intersection of the two shopping channels is where the magic lies. Not only did they find that comparison shopping actually increases conversion, they quantified the benefit of leading shoppers to visit both online and in-store.
“What we’ve found is that the customer that engages us across channels is much more valuable,” said R.B. Harrison, Macy’s Chief Omnichannel Officer. “Those who research and purchase across channels are 8-times more valuable to us than those who just engage online.”
Clothing store Rebecca Minkoff has taken the omni-channel shopping experience to new heights (watch full video here). With touch screens in the fitting rooms, shoppers use a bevy of information and enhanced video/photos to search and make a more comfortable, informed purchase decision. In-store fitting room experience and search can be saved directly the customer’s phone. Then they can purchase directly from their device. This effort has resulted in a 6-7 times increase in ready to wear sales in less than six months.
“In the store, the majority of shoppers immediately pull up the app or our mobile site,” said Emily Culp, SVP of eCommerce and Omnichannel Marketing for Rebecca Minkoff. “Then they start looking for that exact product to read about the ratings and reviews. If it isn’t available in-store, they want to see if they can buy it from our mobile site.”
The common thread between these two studies is that their customers wanted a ton of information…and the retailers provided it with great success.