Google gives retailers more control through Commerce Search update

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Google updated its Commerce Search platform, which is used by retailers on their own e-commerce websites, on March 29 to include interactive features such as instant results and in-store product availability. The update also gives retailers more control over which products are promoted in search results.

Google's goal is to drive consumer engagement through the features added in Commerce Search 3.0, said Nitin Mangtani, group product manager for commerce and enterprise at Google.

“[It is] like having a store associate talking to you while you are on an online site,” he said. “That's the kind of engagement we wanted to drive.” Retailers including Forever 21, GNC, L'Occitane and BabyAge.com will use the updated version on their websites, said Google.

The platform's “Search as You Type” feature generates instant results that appear under a retail website's search box as a consumer types a query. Mangtani said the platform uses the core backend infrastructure of Google Instant, which the company rolled out last September.

It also lets retailers create merchandising rules to promote certain products in instant search and product recommendation results. “If you're looking at a camera, we can show photos of cameras that are like that camera, and we can tell you which camera people ultimately bought,” said Mangtani. “But then the merchandisers can say, ‘I want to upsell this particular model of the camera, create that business rule, and insert that product in the related products, as well.'"

Retailers can also implement rules to promote certain products through banner ads that will display alongside related search results.

The new version of Commerce Search also allows companies to provide local product availability when a consumer searches for an item on their website. Consumers will also be able to view product recommendations, which are displayed based on other consumers' purchasing habits.

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