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New shopping experience features from ecommerce platforms have been just as much a hallmark of this holiday season as discounts. So it’s fitting that Google had one more release to share this month before it’s all wrapped up.
In its latest product update, Google shared new ways that its Chrome browser is making online shopping easier, with a focus on finding ways to save that fits a period of 40-year-high inflation. Check them out below:
Price drop notifications
This allows people to keep an eye on a special item that they would like to buy, just at a lower price. The new feature allows users to opt-in to receive an email or mobile notification if the price of a certain item decreases.
To activate it, users select “track price” in the Chrome address bar. In the side panel, users can manage the products they are tracking.
The feature is available in the US on desktops and Android devices.
Find discount codes in your shopping cart
When items are added to a shopping cart, Chrome will automatically find available discount codes and apply them at checkout.
“Pro tip: Just open the New Tab Page anytime you need to track down existing shopping carts and you’ll see available discounts there, too,” writes Sam Birch, product manager for Chrome Shopping.
These features are available on desktop, initially in the US.
Price check with Google Lens
See an intriguing item online, but curious to know how much it costs? This feature makes it happen. Chrome desktop users can right-click an item, then select, “Search image with Google Lens.” In the side panel, results will show the item, as well as similar options from various retailers and price ranges. The results will also show whether an item is in stock, or being backordered.
Checkout with Autofill
Fast checkout is the key to a great commerce experience. With autofill, Chrome will take care of entering all the details like address and payment, provided they are saved in Google Pay. This comes as the ability to save payment info was expanded to 67 more countries.
The Current’s view
Think about Google Shopping, and typically what comes to mind is search through the Google website. But these features point toward Google’s shopping experience extending anywhere on the web. It effectively positions the browser as an always-on ecommerce shopping assistant. What's more, centering the actions around pricing and checkout adds functionality that goes beyond searching for products.
It’s the year’s latest example of how the big ecommerce platforms want to be available for shopping beyond their own sites. Amazon wants to plant its checkout on DTC sites through Buy With Prime. Google is leveraging tools in its own browser. Don’t be surprised to see these plays at ubiquity escalate in 2023. On the web, ecommerce is about to get more embedded.
When it comes to shopping, Google is shipping this year. These are just the latest upgrades to the shopping experience on Google to be released this year. Here’s a look at our running list of more releases from Google:
- Introduced augmented reality tools for footwear and beauty.
- Launched new search features that integrate shopping with the main search experience, and make results more visible, including on desktop.
- Shared insights and tools to help merchants get ready for the holidays.
- Expanded enhanced ecommerce experiences to more ecommerce sites.
- Upgraded shopping ads to create a more visual experience.
- Rolled out new measurement tools to determine the impact of free listings.
- Added search features to help shoppers find deals.
Trending in Shopper Experience
Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.
When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.
That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The decline has been building over the entire year, as imports dipped in the winter. With the spring, volume started to rebound. In April, the major ports handled 1.78 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. That was an increase of 9.6% from March. Still it was a decline of 21.3% year over year – reflecting the record cargo hauled in over the spike in consumer demand of 2021 and the inventory glut 2022.
In 2023, consumer spending is remaining resilient with in a strong job market, despite the collision of inflation and interest rates. The economy remains different from pre-pandemic days, but shipping volumes are beginning to once again resemble the time before COVID-19.
“Economists and shipping lines increasingly wonder why the decline in container import demand is so much at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand,” said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, in a statement. “Import container shipments have returned the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 and appear likely to stay there for a while.”
Retailers and logistics professionals alike are looking to the second half of the year for a potential upswing. Peak shipping season occurs in the summer, which is in preparation for peak shopping season over the holidays.
Yet disruption could occur on the West Coast if labor issues can’t be settled. This week, ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported closures and slowdowns as ongoing union disputes boil over, CNBC reported. NRF called on the Biden administration to intervene.
“Cargo volume is lower than last year but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise. The last thing retailers and other shippers need is ongoing disruption at the ports,” aid NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “If labor and management can’t reach agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast gateways. We continue to urge the administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.”