Google Mobile Search Gives 360 Degree Product View, Places to Buy

google mobile search

A new Google mobile search feature may end up benefiting physical stores much more than ecommerce retailers. The feature seems to support a rising trend in which consumers are actually researching products online first only to later buy them at a physical location.

Google has introduced a 360-degree product view on its Google Shopping results on mobile searches. The new feature means customers can now get a more complete 360 degree view of products before traveling to the store just by searching for it on their smartphone and tablet. The company detailed the new feature recently on its Official Google Blog.

Importantly, small brick and mortar retailers can also benefit from the feature, it seems. In addition to the enhanced views on products, more detailed product information, and product reviews, Google is also starting to list local stores where consumers can purchase the product they’re researching. This allows shoppers to see a product online, do some thorough research and then find the best deal locally.

Google says its Shopping search numbers continue to increase every year and the company says it is already seeing that trend continue this year. Elaborating in greater detail on the trend in Google’s AdWords Blog, Google Shopping Product Mananger Jennifer Liu writes:

“We’ve seen a 3.5X increase in shopping searches coming from smartphones year-on-year, and this continues to grow. And we’re currently sending more mobile traffic to retailers per week from Google Shopping than we did during the peak of last holiday season. So we’re making it easier to find the information and images people need to make shopping better on mobile.”

But the development of the new mobile search feature happens to correspond with another interesting trend too. A recent study suggests more customers are shopping online only to make their final purchase at a physical store.

Dubbed “webrooming,” the new trend is a complete reversal of “showrooming,” a practice greatly concerning retailer this time last year where shoppers seemed to visit stores to learn about products only to purchase them cheaper online.

Reporting on the research by marketing and consumer experts GfK, Rieva Lesonsky sites some reasons for the new webrooming trend:

What prompts shoppers to head into a store instead of just buying online? Nearly six in 10 want to “see and feel before buying,” 53 percent want to get the products instantly and 35 percent appreciate the ease of being able to return products in-store if they aren’t satisfied.

Per the GfK data, just 28 percent of consumers said they were Showrooming this past year. That marks a sharp drop from 37 percent the year prior. On the contrary, consumers admitted in the study that they have been Webrooming. A total of 41 percent of GfK respondents said they checked out a product online then went to an physical store to make their purchase.

Image: Google


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

6 Reactions
  1. It’s crazy how many different things Google tests on their SERPs to find out what produces the best experience for search users. This is pretty bold for mobile as it seems like it would require more bandwidth.

  2. It’s about time that they test some things for mobile. It seems that they also have some competition because some people access online services directly through apps.

  3. What a lot of e-commerce advertisers should be focused on as well is cross-device interactions. Consumers spend 15 hours a week researching on their mobile phone.; more than half want to purchase within the first hour! If you are using AdWords, take a look at “estimated total conversions” and “cross-device conversions” reports.

    You see, roughly 90% of users switch between devices during the day, desktop, mobile, tablet, etc. You need to look at these reports to be able to measure which device is better for ROI and where to best allocate your budget. In 2014, there were on average 9% more conversions between cross device conversions and 20% higher conversions on mobile-initiated conversions. I don’t know about anyone else, but to me, these are some pretty powerful numbers.

    Needless to say, 2015 looks to be the year of the mobile conversion. Take a deep hard look at how your traffic is coming to you and how they are interacting with your products and site so that you can optimize your organic and paid search campaigns accordingly.

    Merry Christmas everyone!