Google May Soon Get Better For B2B SalesBy: Chris Crum - January 30, 2013
Google may soon become a better tool for businesses who sell products for other businesses. Google has a new product in beta called Google Shopping For Suppliers, which is essentially a B2B version of Google Shopping.
Do you think the Google Shopping model will work for B2B? Let us know what you think.
A Google spokesperson tells WebProNews, “Google Shopping for Suppliers is a beta that helps users searching for B2B products to quickly find what they’re looking for, evaluate options and connect with suppliers to make their purchases.”
Google has made no formal announcements about the product, but the company tells us the beta launched about two weeks ago, and is U.S. only (for now). It requires listings to be in US dollars by default (though a few European sites have already picked up on the launch), and adheres to the same policies as Google Shopping, but with a handful of exceptions.
For example, most Pricing and Payments policies for Google Shopping don’t apply, because, as Google notes in a help center article, suppliers and buyers frequently negotiate their price based on item quantity. The same goes for shipping policies.
“Given that tax requirements vary by buyer’s country and buyers may come from any location, tax practices are not governed by Google policy,” Google also notes. “Suppliers and buyers are expected to abide by local law.”
Additionally, Google doesn’t require suppliers to post return/refund policies on their sites, which is a departure from Google Shopping’s terms, though it does maintain a requirement that suppliers “conspicuously” post terms for returns/refunds in their Google Shopping for Suppliers listings.
Finally, Google Shopping For Suppliers doesn’t rely on Google Merchant Center technology.
The full policies for Google Shopping For Suppliers can be found here.
So far, the product only returns results for electrical and electronic products, but Google says to check back soon for more product types. It’s easy to imagine a large pool of B2B products populating the results in time.
It looks like all the merchants that are listed come with the “Google Verified Supplier” label. Google does say that if you become a Google Verified Supplier you can have your products appear higher in the Sponsored results section on Google and on www.google.com/shopping/suppliers. “More product visibility leads to more sales,” the company says.
Other benefits Google says come with being a verified supplier include:
- Results from Verified Suppliers show an eye-catching badge that highlights the supplier’s verified status to potential buyers.
- Products from Verified Suppliers show first in the listings, before those from unverified suppliers, so your products will noticed by interested buyers.
- As a Verified Supplier, you’ll have a public company profile to add key information to, such as certifications and locations.
- You’ll be able to add information to your listings that’s critical for the buyer’s purchase decision, such as photos, attributes, customization availability, and lead time.
- Potential buyers can contact you easily through a form available on all your Verified Supplier product and company profile pages.
There is an annual verification fee of US$1,000.
Andrew Davis makes a few additional observations:
– It looks like Google has not made this a CPC engine yet and after you submit your verification fee you should be able to sell your products in bulk.
– It looks like the data feed requirements are very different than that for Google Shopping. Make sure you take a close look at them. Namely Price, Shipping, Tax, and Returns and Refunds policies have changed.
Considering how well Google Shopping has been doing for Google, this could turn out to be an important product for the company in capturing B2B ad dollars.
Google Product Listing Ads, upon which Google Shopping is based, have been proving way more effective than text ads. Multiple reports have come out recently showing this.
According to recent Kenshoo findings, “eye-catching” PLAs draw about one and a half times the clickthrough rate of regular text ads, and convert 23% better, resulting in a 31% higher return on advertising spending (ROAS).
A report from Adobe found that Google increased its marketshare of retail spend by 0.6% in a year to 86.5%, and that almost all its growth came from PLAs. In Q4, PLAs accounted for 10.7% of overall spend, according to the company, indicating that Google’s PLA program is only a little smaller than the Yahoo Bing network, which is 13.8% of total retail ad spend, the company said.
Just this week, Wired ran a report looking at data from Marin Software finding that advertisers managing $4 billion annually in ad campaigns spent 600% more on Google PLAs after Google’s transition to Google Shopping in October, and that the PLAs were generating 210% higher clickthrough rates than the text ads from the previous year.
Bing has noticed how well product listing ads have been doing for Google, and will soon be launching some of its own.
Have you had luck with Google Shopping? Do you think Google Shopping For Suppliers has potential to be a game-changer in B2B? Share your thoughts here.[Thanks to Andrew Davis for the tip]