As the coronavirus has sent more shoppers online, Google, GOOGL +0.6% after several failed attempts in the past, is again trying to grow its share of the e-commerce market. The question is, will it work this time?
Google said Thursday that it will drop commission fees for merchants that participate in its Buy on Google program, which allows consumers to search for and check out products directly on its platform without being directed to retailers’ pages. Google also said it’s opening its platform to third-party providers, starting with PayPal and Shopify, to give retailers more choices. In recent months, the search-engine giant also made it free for retailers to list products on Google Shopping in the U.S., on top of bringing those free listings to Google Search.
These sweetened deals may help Google attract more sellers, but they’re not enough to give Amazon a meaningful run for its money in e-commerce.
Why? Try finding some products on Google Shopping, and filter them under Buy on Google—you’ll see for yourself. The process is confusing, far from the seamless experience that’s now a basic consumer expectation.I randomly picked three items, each under $25, from three different sellers (including Target) that totaled $54. The shipping fee that each merchant would have charged at checkout amounted to an additional $19. (Google said on the website that the per-store free-shipping purchase minimum is $25 or $35 for most retailers.)