Google on Monday announced Shopping Actions, a new marketing initiative that will allow its Search and Assistant services to sell products directly to consumers in exchange for a portion of revenues retailers generate in such a manner. The same initiative will expand the product portfolio offered by Google Express, the company's existing shopping service which is presently available in parts of the United States. All three platforms will now allow users to save their payment information and make instant purchases, with participation in the program being free and Google only requiring a piece of revenue in cases when sales are made. The pay-per-sale business model stands in stark contrast to the firm's traditional digital advertising platform as it completely eliminates the financial barrier to entry for potential partners and is likely aimed at combating the stateside e-commerce dominance of Amazon.
While Google has already been experimenting with a wide variety of online shopping solutions in recent years and landed in major legal trouble with the European Union in the process of doing so, the launch of Shopping Actions still marks a first for the company in the context of its artificial intelligence companion which now seeks to act as a voice-enabled e-commerce platform that directly rivals Amazon's Alexa. According to recent estimates, the voice shopping industry in the United States will grow 1,900-percent over the next four years and even if Google's internal estimates are more conservative, the segment itself is one that the company appears to be keen on supporting moving forward.
The Alphabet-owned tech giant says the early participants in the program are seeing an average increase in digital basket size of 30-percent, suggesting Shopping Actions may be a much more effective tool for generating leads than traditional product advertising is. Target, Ulta Beauty, and 1-800-Flowers.com are some of the companies Google confirmed helped beta-test its solution which is now launching more broadly in the U.S. The Mountain View-based firm hasn't disclosed how many new partners it's planning to accept into the program in the immediate future but is now encouraging all interested companies to get in touch over the matter via an online form that can be accessed below.