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Google yesterday announced that it has introduced 'Google Certified Shops' to the UK, which assures shoppers of the customer service standards they can expect from participating retailers.
The scheme allows retailers to display the badge, alongside stats showing the number of transactions, success rate and percentage of deliveries dispatched on time. Participating retailers include Wayfair, ghd.com and Schuh.
It's potentially very persuasive for wavering customers and, if implemented in a similar way to the 'Trusted Stores' scheme in the US, it could be used in search listings and PPC ads.
I've finding out more, and have spoken to Google and Schuh's Deputy Head of Ecommerce Stuart McMillan about the scheme.
According to Google:
Qualifying sites will display a badge which shows some useful stats which provide reassurance and social proof for merchants.
Google Certified Shops helps consumers find online merchants that offer a consistently great customer experience, including excellent service and reliable dispatch.Qualifying retailers display the Google Certified Shops badge on their site, letting visitors know that they can trust that store.
When a shopper hovers over the badge, they’ll see helpful performance metrics, plus information about free purchase protection from Google. If a shopper has an issue with a Google Certified Shop protected purchase, we’ll be there to help, including protecting eligible orders for up to £1,000.
These include the number of transactions, the percentage of issue-free orders and on-time deliveries, as well as a guarantee for up to £1,000 of protection in case of problems.
So far, the merchants in the scheme are just using these badges on their sites, though I expect that it would be a very persuasive method of increasing CTR in ratings if the tick badge were shown in search ads and listing.
I asked Google's Head of Ads PR Ben Novick about this, as well as merchant's control over the use of badges on their sites:
Google already enables retailers to show a star rating on their ads in the UK. In the future, we hope the customer survey data associated with Certified Shops could automatically feed into these ratings like in the US. The Certified Shop badge could eventually also appear on Product Listing Ads in the UK as it currently does in the US.
The look and feel of the badge and the facts and figures in the flyover are controlled by Google. We may test different versions but Google will have control.
Here's an example from Schuh. The badge is displayed at the bottom right of the page. Mousing over the badge brings up the panel with the stats on it:
I talked to Schuh's Stuart McMillan to find out more...
Why is Google introducing this?
Google's motivation centres around providing greater trust in online shopping, it's in their interest to do what they can to provide greater authority around their search results.
Why did you decide to take part in this? How do you think it will benefit Schuh?
Our motivation is simple: any Google indicators obviously provide a lot of credibility, and for us with our strong service proposition it was a natural fit.
We had no problems meeting the service metrics required to participate. We have a good relationship with Google, it is well aware of our proposition and we jumped at the chance.
Our interests centre around two elements: the persuasive power of a Google trust mark and the opportunity to improve transparency around our service metrics.
How will you use the 'badges`?
The tags have been on the site for some time to allow Google to capture data to put in the stats panel, the numbers shown are genuine.
As to what more we will do with it, we'll need to wait and see, we'll need to look at how customers are interacting with it.
Do you think there's a 'risk' that too many 'trust logos' will deter some, or is that Google logo powerful enough to cut through that?
I think Google is strong enough to cut through everything else, however we will need to look to rationalise what we provide, of course based on testing.