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Google Checkout & Customer Ownership

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Google Checkout & Customer Ownership

Google Checkout & Customer Ownership

Brian Smith at ComparisonEngines has an interesting post (citing research from Piper Jaffray’s Safa Rashtchy) on retailer fear surrounding Google’s control of customer data and the customer relationship. (Eric Schmidt in his remarks at SES gave an unsatisfying implied “trust us” response regarding Google’s management of customer data and consumer privacy concerns).

But back to Smith’s post and Checkout: Piper Jaffray surveyed 30 online retailers and found that 81% were unlikely to implement Google Checkout chiefly because of concerns that they would have a limited ability to market directly to consumers and that Google would “own” the consumer relationship.

For Google, this points out the need to do two things sooner rather than later: 1) allay those retailers’ fears and work with them to mitigate the perception that Google wants to “own” their customers and 2) strongly market Checkout to consumers (e.g., full-page ads in newspapers, radio commercials, etc.) so that retailers have an incentive to participate in the system beyond the AdWords deal.

Checkout was briefly featured on Google’s homepage (maybe for 24 – 36 hours). To its credit (so to speak) Google is currently offering $10 off on back-to-school purchases of $30 or more as a consumer incentive to use the system. That’s a nice discount. Yet Checkout remains buried unless you’re specifically looking for it. And we saw what happened to Froogle when Google took it off the homepage.

Here’s my earlier post about how Checkout could/should become a shopping destination (part of a hypothetical, re-branded “Google Shopping”).

Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.

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