Whether online or in stores, consumers have thousands of places to shop, and Google is only helping to expand on that. By implementing new tools such as Google Lens for visual search and AR try-on for beauty products, consumers can quickly discover and buy products no matter where they are. But make no mistake, Google is not a retailer, nor do they have any aspiration to be.
According to Martha Welsh, Head of Product Strategy, Operations GTM, Google Commerce and Payments for Google, the goal is to bring as much choice to consumers as possible and showcase trusted merchants across the ecosystem. During the Retail Innovation Summit, Martha will share deeper insights into how Google is supporting retailers and merchants to make the online shopping research and checkout more seamless for consumers.
Martha will also be joined by the CMO of Crate & Barrel, Alicia Waters, to speak on how Google is supporting Crate & Barrel’s commerce toolkit.
In the meantime, here’s a quick preview into her thoughts on key trends across ecommerce and consumer behaviors, and how retailers can reach the modern shopper using new tools and technology.
Retail Innovation Conference & Expo team (RICE): What do you find most exciting or challenging about your role?
Martha Welsh: It’s a fascinating time to be in the commerce space. We’ve seen about a decade’s worth of ecommerce growth in just a few years, so there’s a ton of movement. As a result, retailers must innovate to keep up with consumers’ growing expectations. It’s been really exciting to help support retailers across the spectrum as we enter this new era where the lines of online and offline shopping are blurred, and where consumers’ preferences and means of discovering new brands and merchants are evolving. I can’t imagine a more interesting place to be.
RICE: What ecommerce trends do you anticipate will be top priorities for retailers in 2022 and why?
Welsh: There’s been a lot of talk about omnichannel as a trend. Omnichannel isn’t a trend, it’s here to stay, but what it looks like is rapidly evolving. Consumers are no longer deciding at the start of the journey whether to shop online or offline — these journeys are becoming much more fluid. Shoppers may discover products in-store and then research them online while they are still in the store. Or they may start online, and then find stores nearby where they can try it on in person. This space is evolving fast, and I’m interested to see how rapidly shoppers will adopt machine learning technologies like Google Lens that can bring together the physical and digital worlds in new ways.
RICE: What are the top three ways Google Shopping will improve the customer experience?
Welsh: While shopping has always been so much more than buying, ecommerce historically has felt transactional. Today, digital increasingly has become a place where people look for inspiration and ideas; it’s no longer just a place to find the lowest price or the fastest delivery. That’s why we’re working hard to make the shopping experience on Google more visual, helpful, and even fun, bringing more brands and their unique value proposition to the forefront. You can expect to see more immersive, browsable experiences on Google Search, as well as tools that make online shopping research and checkout more seamless. We are also excited for new product experiences on YouTube. YouTube has always been a great place for inspiration, and we are working on making it more shoppable, helping merchants showcase products and helping consumers discover and shop wherever they are.
RICE: Regarding the recent announcement of the Google Shopping Experience Scorecard, how will this program impact retailers and customers?
Welsh: At Google we aren’t the retailer, and we have no aspiration to be the retailer. Rather, we want to bring as much choice to consumers as possible and showcase trusted merchants across the ecosystem. Tools like the Shopping Experience Scorecard help shoppers discover new merchants and feel confident as they browse, research and even buy online.
RICE: What do you hope attendees will take away from your session? What key lessons do you plan to share?
Welsh: First, I am always excited to spend time with retailers and hear from them firsthand. Retail is one of the most exciting and dynamic spaces, and I look forward to sharing more about the trends we are seeing across ecommerce and consumer behaviors, and how retailers can reach the modern shopper using new tools and technology.