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E-commerce may not be as sexy as social networking and online content, but millions upon millions of people shop online, spending billions of dollars every year.

For brands and retailers hoping to get a piece of the action, technology is everything. That's why eBay is spending upwards of $2bn buying GSI Commerce.

While it's easy to overlook, Google is a player in this space too, and yesterday it announced a major refresh of its Commerce Search product, dubbed Commerce Search 3.0, which is a search solution "designed specifically with online and multi-channel retailers in mind."

New features Google is rolling out in Commerce Search 3.0 include "Search as You Type" functionality, product recommendations and promotions.

Google has also added Live Local Inventory. With this, "Multi-channel retailers can facilitate cross-channel product discovery with Local Inventory, which lists local product availability in search results. This cross-channel coordination provides users with a streamlined shopping experience, which can increase conversion, customer loyalty, and sales."

Google's pitch for Commerce Search is that it's a hosted, software-as-a-service solution. Retailers use Google Merchant Center to upload their products, can customize the look and feel of their search using an XML-based API, and receive Google Analytics integration.

According to Google, one major multichannel retailer, General Nutrition Company, was able to integrate Commerce Search 3.0 on its mobile website "in less than a week."

According to Google, other notable customers signing up for Commerce Search 3.0 include Forever21 and L’Occitane.

With pricing starting at $25,000/year, Commerce Search may be out of the reach of smaller retailers, but as eBay's big acquisition of GSI Commerce reminds us, providing technology solutions to large retail brands and multi-channel retailers is still a big business.

From this perspective, perhaps Google should be focusing more on products like Commerce Search and less on consumer-oriented, non-search services.

Patricio Robles

Published 30 March, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2390 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

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sheppy

Interesting... but it's connected to google search/shopping too. In comparison, I doubt it's a huge money-maker on its own.

The main reason I assume they are in this space is that by getting better access to in-depth product and promotions data through offering this service with companies (and can't get just by crawling websites), they will roll back into google shopping to create an even better shopping experience with accurate product, promotions and localised data.

Retailers will want exposure on Google shopping and will be willing to comply, and Google get an even better consumer proposition in retailing.

Essentially, an even more accurate and in-depth product database.

over 5 years ago

John Courtney

John Courtney, CEO and Executive Chairman at Pay on Results SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media, Digital PR, PPC & CRO from Strategy Digital

Interesting to see how "search as you type" functionality improves the e-commerce experience.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Tony Leatham

There are other players in the onsite search space as well. Let's face it, search as you type is hardly new.

And judging by the Google press release, other people such as FACT Finder (with whom we partner) have a much more advanced offering (and at a lower price point).

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

ashok neelakanta

Instead of making this a big deal, google, should use it's search engine itself as a commerce platform. Consider this - almost every product to be sold has web content and the same is available with google as a search engine. Along with the search result display, google should introduce a 'Buy this' option and integrate a payment gateway. Paying a subscription of $25k does not make sense at all!

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dan

Hasn't Google just erected what may become a massive barrier to entry into eCommerce? They seem to have created something that has questionable value but which many giant retailers will feel they need to participate in - and which smaller retailers will not be able to afford. 'Do no evil'?

over 5 years ago

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