People ride a moving walkway in front of a sign featuring Google Inc.’s logo at the company’s Asia-Pacific headquarters during its opening day in Singapore (Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg)

Google Launches Platform To Help Buyers Shop Online 

Google incorporated a Shopping Tab in India that aggregates products featured by online retailers to encourage buyers to use its search.

The platform, in the works for several months, will allow users to filter through offers, review prices from multiple retailers and find the products, according to a Google statement today. It will show product lists and local inventory as well.

While it looks more like a listing platform for smartphones, personal care, home décor, apparel and more, the move is largely seen as way to bring back users to its search engine, Satish Meena, a New Delhi-based analyst at Forrester Research India. Pvt., said. “Customers have been moving away from Google when it comes to product search to platforms like Amazon and Flipkart. This could bring them back.”

India, with a population of about 1.3 billion, is the next big frontier to draw online shoppers, aided by cheaper data and growing smartphone sales. The online retail market is expected to grow fourfold to $150 billion by 2022, according to a report by software industry lobby Nasscom and consulting firm PwC India.

“More than 40 million Indians are coming online every year, and search is an integral part of their online journey,” Surojit Chatterjee, vice president, product management, Google, said in the statement.

The Shopping Tab will show when the price drops and offers a collection of the most popular products on Google. Users can post queries in Hindi and English. For entry level phones, the Mountain View, California-based company said it will be available as a progressive web app.

When BloombergQuint reviewed the feature, it showed products from Flipkart, Amazon India, Grofers, Nykaa to name a few. Google, as of now, doesn’t allow placing orders or payments from the platform but takes a shopper to online retailers’ marketplaces.

Google’s Shopping tab. (Source : Google) 
Google’s Shopping tab. (Source : Google) 

Data Google’s Gold

Google is looking to tap into its large network of registered small and medium businesses from neighborhood stores to high-end handicraft stores. “Our aim is to support the entire retail ecosystem, from shopping sites and large retailers to small local shops, and give them the tools, technology and scale to thrive in today’s digital economy,” Chatterjee said.

There are about 58 million small and medium business in the country, of which 35 percent are engaged in retail trade, according to Sixth Economic Census, with a very small number of them having an online presence.

And to tap that, Google has expanded its merchant centre to Hindi. Retailers can sign up and put out products free of cost, after registration on the merchant platform.

The Shopping Tab could be a precursor to set up an e-commerce marketplace, Meena said. “Right now, the focus is to get consumer data and product discovery and see how they are spending, and the kind of traffic it is able to attract.”