Google Checkout Payment System Streamlines Online Shopping
Google’s shopping cart system and its answer to rival eBay’s Paypal, Google Checkout, has launched today in an attempt by Google to streamline the search to purchase process into one easy and all encompassing Google system. With Google AdWords and Google Accounts integration, Google Checkout will not only bring ease and a new payment alternative to online shopping, but Google has also introduced a Google Checkout icon which will influence the advertisements which are clicked on by the Google loyalist.
To identify the stores which offer Google Checkout, Google is placing a little icon on the Google AdWords (and possibly AdSense) ads of stores offering their Checkout system. Google says that doing so is “an easy way to identify fast, secure places to shop when you search.” Ideally, as Google Checkout adoption grows by Google users, AdWords advertisers serving the shopping cart icon in their ads will experience greater position due to click thru and conversion increases among Google buyers.
Google Checkout is of lower cost than Paypal in some circumstances and Google is adding bonuses to AdWords advertisers who are using the system : For every $1 you spend on AdWords, you can process $10 in sales for free. For sales that exceed this amount or if you don’t use AdWords, you can process them at a low 2% and $0.20 per transaction. Paypal’s fees are 30 cents and 2.9% per transaction with a sliding scale which lowers with more expensive transactions.
Furthermore, Google Checkout tracks a user’s purchase history where Google Account holders can view their purchases and shipping information all under one Google umbrella. Under the Google Checkout system, buyers will be able to purchase from stores by using one Google Accounts login option, which Google says leads to “no more entering the same info each time you buy, and no more having to remember different usernames and passwords for each store.”
Expect the Google Checkout purchase history data to also help Google serve the most relevant advertisements to Google Accounts users as they surf, check GMail or search online, using purchases, demographics, geotargeting and online behavior to tweak the customized serving of advertisements per unique user.
Such online shopping powerhouses as Starbucks, Levi’s, Buy.com, Ritz Camera and CD Universe are already using the Google Checkout system and a special Google Checkout Merchant page is offering valuable Google Checkout coupon codes for instant shopping savings.
Although Google Checkout is not a person to person payment and ‘banking’ system like eBay’s Paypal, Google has introduced a strong alternative or addition for online merchants. I’d expect in the future for merchants running advertisements via Google AdWords to serve dynamic pages or landing pages with a focus on making purchases or micropayments using Google Checkout, which would increase their conversions and Google-friendliness to Google’s users. Then, flip the strategy over at Yahoo or eBay to serve more Paypal friendly landing pages or checkout systems, as a partnership between Yahoo and eBay has prepared their businesses for this rather large Google Checkout announcement.
Chris Sherman at Search Engine Watch has an excellent review of Google Checkout and notes that concerns over usage and privacy are expected:
(Google Checkout) will surely raise concerns about what Google is doing with the data it’s collecting, as it now has visibility into searcher buying behavior from the first initial queries through the entire clickthrough and conversion process.
Already, many search marketers avoid Google’s free analytics service because they are unwilling to let Google capture data that can show conversion rates, ROI and other cost and profitability metrics. But advertisers risk losing position in search results to other advertisers who are using Checkout.
This will create a conundrum for some search marketers: Which is more important—a high ranking ad or not allowing Google such a complete view of your search-related business transactions?
Google notes however that using Google Checkout is more secure than traditional online buying as the Google Checkout service conceals the buyer credit card number and provides reimbursement for unauthorized purchases. Futhermore, the security also spreads into one’s email usages as Google Checkout can also lead to less email spam; Google Checkout lets shoppers choose whether or not to keep email addresses confidential or turnoff unwanted email from the stores where they shop.
For those looking for more information on the Google Checkout system, you can visit Google Checkout at http://checkout.google.com, and I highly recommend reading these blog entries:
* Google Checkout Is Live from Google Blogoscoped
* Google Checkout Details Emerge from Threadwatch
* Welcome Google Checkout; Google Payments from Search Engine Roundtable
* Google Checkout: Will lose money to brutalize PayPal from Silicon Beat
* Google Checkout Isnâ€™t a Paypal Killer from Mashable