Google Checkout and Customer Ownership

Brian Smith at ComparisonEngines has an interesting post (citing research from Piper Jaffray‘s Safa Rashtchy) on retailer fear surrounding Google’s control of customer data and the customer relationship. (Eric Schmidt in his remarks at SES gave an unsatisfying implied “trust us” response regarding Google’s management of customer data and consumer privacy concerns).

But back to Smith’s post and Checkout: Piper Jaffray surveyed 30 online retailers and found that 81% were unlikely to implement Google Checkout chiefly because of concerns that they would have a limited ability to market directly to consumers and that Google would “own” the consumer relationship.

For Google, this points out the need to do two things sooner rather than later: 1) allay those retailers’ fears and work with them to mitigate the perception that Google wants to “own” their customers and 2) strongly market Checkout to consumers (e.g., full-page ads in newspapers, radio commercials, etc.) so that retailers have an incentive to participate in the system beyond the AdWords deal.

Checkout was briefly featured on Google’s homepage (maybe for 24 – 36 hours). To its credit (so to speak) Google is currently offering $10 off on back-to-school purchases of $30 or more as a consumer incentive to use the system. That’s a nice discount. Yet Checkout remains buried unless you’re specifically looking for it. And we saw what happened to Froogle when Google took it off the homepage

Here’s my earlier post about how Checkout could/should become a shopping destination (part of a hypothetical, re-brandedGoogle Shopping”).


Related: Consider how Google’s new local coupon initiative might ultimately integrate with discounts on e-commerce via Checkout.

Also, you can read the full transcript or see the video of Eric Schmidt’s interview with Danny Sullivan at SES. You can read Andrew Goodman’s write-up of Schmidt’s remarks here.

2 Responses to “Google Checkout and Customer Ownership”

  1. Jellyfish :: Blog Archive :: Another Search Engine Dips a Toe into the CPA Waters Says:

    […] But will retailers go for this?  Will they turn over their customer relationship to in this way in exchange for the accountability of Cost Per Sale advertising?  Brian Smith raises these concerns in his post, and many others have already discussed the push back Google Checkout has gotten for controlling the customer (see Greg Sterling’s post here for example).  It will be fascinating to watch this play out.  Frankly, I will be amazed to see a large number of retailers essentially agree to give up a big part of the customer ownership equation and transition into more of a product shipping/wholesaler entity and away from being a customer-centric retailer.  […]

  2. Limitations of the Google Culture « Screenwerk Says:

    […] I argued that it was important for Google to early and strongly promote Checkout, both to consumers and to marketers. The company has done some limited banner buying around the value proposition for merchants. But now, the WSJ reports, Checkout is going free to merchants for the holidays (read: as an incentive to adopt). Henry Blodget (remember him?) argues that this policy reflects that Google Checkout has so far been unsuccessful in gaining merchant adoption. […]

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