Google will soon be adding a buy button that will allow people to buy products without actually going to a retailer’s site, Chief Business Officer Omid Kordestani has confirmed.
“There is going to be a buy button, it is actually imminent,” Kordestani said at a technology conference May 27.
The move is intended to reduce obstacles so that users buy more online, he explained. The potential consumer pool using Google is enormous — about 93% of online experiences begin on a search engine, and Google gets about 70% of all traffic — but nine out of 10 purchases are still made offline, even when shoppers research online before buying.
The button addition, which is being referred to as Google Buy, will be rolled out first (or perhaps exclusively) on mobile devices, according to unnamed sources being cited by numerous major news outlets. The button would apply to the shopping ads that are displayed alongside organic, or non-paid, search results.
Especially when taken together with the fact that Google has begun prioritizing mobile-friendly sites in its search results, the news is a clear sign that Google sees smartphones and tablets as the driver of e-commerce in the future.
Reaction to the plan has been mixed. On the one hand, anything that drives consumer spending is good for the companies featured on Google (and, since those companies pay a premium for those ad spots, could increase revenue for the search engine itself). It also could help Google to fend off competition from Amazon, where many consumers turn to search for a wide variety of products and one-click shopping. On the other hand, some retailers may feel that the button erodes the business-consumer relationship.
The news that Google was considering the addition of a buy button was first reported by the Wall Street Journal last year, when Google was apparently polling retailers about the idea.