online shopping, purchases on google

Purchases on Google now supported by CommerceHub

The world of transactional PLAs just got a bit more real.

Purchases on Google was publicly announced as an addition to Product Listing Ads by Google this morning, with a finite list of brands and retailers participating in this new experiment.  As a feature of Google Product Listing Ads, Purchases on Google aims to bridge the gap between product discovery and purchase on mobile devices.   Retailers and brands have been struggling with getting people to turn the hours and hours of time spent researching and comparing products on devices into actual mobile transactions.  Google recently confirmed that more than 50% of Google searches occur on mobile devices — yet in the US and globally, desktop and tablet shoppers convert at three times the rate of smartphone shoppers(1).

With this announcement, Google can begin closing the loop between product demand and sales conversion.  It also puts them in a position to slow the inroads that Amazon has made on search and address Amazon’s powerful one click purchase process.  Google can also better compete against social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest who have made it clear that they too intend to transform into relevant ecommerce channels.

Next Evolution of Product Listing Ads

This announcement is an exciting evolution of Product Listing Ads and CommerceHub has worked closely with Google to support transactional PLAs through our DemandStream (formerly Mercent Retail®) advertising platform. With DemandStream, merchants will be able to syndicate their product catalog in full compliance with transactional Google Shopping PLAs.  Our product data now includes several new attributes necessary to enable shoppable ads.

As shoppable ads gain traction, we expect to see improved mobile conversion rates, sales and ROAS through frictionless mobile transactions on Google Shopping.   Several CommerceHub customers are early adopters of Purchases on Google and have made shoppable ads a new part of their merchandising strategy. As Google potentially opens this pilot to more brands and retailers, CommerceHub will enable our customers to offer their shoppers a seamless and consistent buying experience on Android smartphone from search to purchase.

The Google Mobile Shopping Experience

When a user searches for a product on Google, for any item that is purchasable through Google Shopping, a Product Listing Ad with “Buy on Google” text and badge will appear indicating that the shopper can purchase the product.

When the shopper clicks on the PLA, she is taken to the Google-hosted product page for more details and can then check out quickly through saved payment credentials from her Google Account.  Simple.

See the shopping experience in action below.

Purchases on Google via a PLA

How Purchases on Google works

The order is then sent to the merchant for processing and shipping. Confirmation and receipts of orders will come from the merchants per their usual process, which varies by e-commerce cart set up.

For a more detailed, step by step description of the shopping experience, check out this article that our Director of PPC, Elizabeth Marsten, contributed to on Search Engine Land.

‘Purchases on Google’ Needs to be Paired with Order and Inventory Management

While buy buttons are new and exciting, order management and fulfillment may pose the bigger challenge for Google as they look to integrate payment, order tracking and delivery systems into their burgeoning commerce platform.

As retailers and brands evaluate their merchandising strategies in context of shoppable ads, pins, tweets and posts, they need to consider not only strategies for optimizing front end demand but how to cost effectively and efficiently fulfill and deliver products sold through these new commerce channels.

Brands and retailers will have to sync their product catalog and order management systems with Google to make sure they are receiving orders and processing them in a timely manner.  And in turn, Google and the other new commerce platforms will have to make sure they are promoting items for sale that the brand or retailer actually has in stock (there is nothing worse than spending ad dollars on items that can’t actually be purchased).   With inventory constantly in flux, it is critical that merchants are sending update pricing and inventory information to the commerce channels and that the channels can react accordingly with appropriate updates to the system.

And lastly, Google will also have to conquer the challenge of ensuring that merchants aren’t selling one product at a time and instead are chunking up orders as a way to increase average order value and reduce shipping costs.

CommerceHub Platform supports Demand, Order Management and Fulfillment

CommerceHub is uniquely positioned to help brand and retailers not only drive demand through DemandStream but also seamlessly manage, track and fulfill orders through OrderStream, enabling our merchants to provide a comprehensive, end to end shopping experience – from product discovery to product delivery.

With two tightly integrated solutions, brands and retailers can rely on CommerceHub to help them drive shopper demand, fulfillment and delivery through one centralized platform to successfully take advantage and grow their online business through evolving ecommerce channels such as Google Shopping.

Congratulations to the CommerceHub engineers for expanding the DemandStream and OrderStream solutions to support Purchases on Google. For more information on the CommerceHub platform, please contact us and we’ll be in touch right away.



1. Google, Inside AdWords blog, May 2015,