Last month Google announced plans to launch a buy button on selected ads for mobile searches. The US firm says the move is designed to improve conversions across all devices, but the real talking point is how this will bring Google an extra step into the eCommerse marketplace, further competing with the likes of Amazon and eBay.

This isn’t the first attempt Google has made to edge in on the consumer side of search with Google Shopping and Trusted Stores now established services. However, a buy button on ads could be the first real dent Google makes in the online shopping experience – but how does it weigh up for retailers?

 

The promise of better conversion rates

Well, we all love the sound of better conversion rates and what Google means by this is that, by reducing the number of clicks needed to buy your products, you theoretically lose less potential customers through the conversion process.

There’s also a key feature in the pipeline. Google knows that two-thirds of mobile shoppers abandon their shopping cart without making a purchase – and entering credit card details is a major turn-off. This won’t be a problem with Google’s buy button because user details will already be stored with the search provider, meaning they don’t need to type them in to buy your products.

 

So Google buy buttons are all good, right?

Well, let’s not get too carried away just yet. Google buy buttons certainly have the potential to increase conversion rates and create a slicker shopping experience through search, but it’s another move that takes websites out of the equation.

Each year Google rolls out more features that give users less reason to visit your website, which can have a number of adverse effects. First of all, buy buttons will take you out of the shopping experience and remove the chance to develop a customer relationship. You also lose the opportunity to tempt buyers with other conversions, subscriptions to your news letter or related products.

 

Could this be a sign of things to come?

Google isn’t the only online giant making this kind of move – Facebook has its own buy button, while Pinterest and Instagram are lined up to follow. Add this to features like Google Maps hotel booking or the search engine’s comparison service and users have less need than ever to visit a retailer or brand website.

The danger is a future where brands no longer have a web presence of their own, simply posting content on Facebook, YouTube and Medium, while relying on the likes of Google and Amazon for transactions. So perhaps the question we should be asking isn’t how buy buttons will affect retail, but rather how the online monopolisation by Google and co. will impact the web for brands of all kind. Are we closing in on a future where users only ever need to visit Google, Facebook and a select few other sites to do everything they want?