Google has launched a new program to assure online consumers they’re buying from trustworthy websites, but it’s currently only available for purchases shipped within the United States.
Tom Fallows, group product manager of Google Shopping, said in a company blog post consumers are often nervous about buying from online stores they’re not familiar with.
Get business news first
Sign up to SmartCompany’s daily newsletter
“We created the free Google Trusted Stores program to help solve this problem. When shoppers see the Google Trusted badge, they know in a snap they’re shopping with a reputable retailer.”
Google has tested the program with around 50 online merchants and more than 10 million orders. Fallows said the program is “working even better than we hoped”.
Fallows held up online-only retailer Wayfair as an example, saying it increased sales on its site by 2.3% with Google Trusted Stores, while specialty retailer Beau-coup saw an 8.6% increase.
The program is currently only open to US merchants, with no word as to if it will be available for retailers in other countries. However, it will benefit start-ups who purchase items from the US.
“When shopping online, you may come across the Google Trusted Store badge,” Fallows said.
“Hover over it and you’ll see a ‘report card’ which shows ‘grades’ for that merchant’s shipping and service, including more precise metrics about what the grades mean.”
Fallows said the badge is only awarded to online stores that deliver “a great overall experience”.
“So even if you haven’t shopped with this merchant before, you can easily tell if they are a trustworthy ship quickly and reliably,” he said.
“We’re still testing the most helpful ways to display Trusted Stores information to shoppers, so you may see different versions, or none at all, while we conduct experiments.”
“Soon the badge will also appear on Google.com ads and in Google Shopping results.”
Michael Fox, co-founder of Sydney-based online retailer Shoes of Prey, says the Google Trusted Stores program is less relevant for savvy online consumers.
“But for new online shoppers, those trustworthy badges do tend to have an affect,” he says.
“We have never gone and measured whether they help or not but there are examples around the place that show they do, and it makes sense that they do.”
“We’ll be looking at doing it when it launches here.”
Ivan Lim, founder of Melbourne-based online retailer Vinspi, says there are a few things that come into play with regard to the Google Trusted Stores program.
“The first is obviously the benchmarking aspect, which is a great move to create a ‘standards’ of sorts for eCommerce retailers,” Lim says.
“Google is reaching beyond just trying to benchmark the website user experience and start measuring the customer experience.”
“The program could definitely benefit consumers in making better decisions on who to purchase from, and also help retailers communicate trust.”
Lim says the other thing to consider is how Google will integrate the program into its search results.
“They’ve already indicated that they may use the badge on AdWords,” he says.
“But it will also be interesting to see how negative reviews, or less than 100% customer satisfaction scores, will affect things like AdWords’ quality scores, for example.”
“Google will definitely be integrating this in some shape or form into their search results, and I’m pretty sure online retailers will need to get on board with the program to optimise their search results.”
“Retailers will probably find themselves needing to supply more data/metrics to Google to be part of the program. This opens up even more valuable data for Google, and how they use it will be interesting.”