In search of Google's 'Buy Button'

          Laura Heller

Social media and search sites are getting closer to a buy button and the elusive one-click shopping that should spur increased mobile sales.

Google is reportedly readying a buy button, one that will accompany product listings returned in a search. Google is working with retailers to develop the button, and while there are no plans yet to begin fulfilling orders, the button would work in concert with retail partners to integrate something closer to one-click buying, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It's an inspired solution and one that will no doubt spur m-commerce growth.

Shoppers are already looking for products—information, pricing, reviews, availability—using Google search. Anything that makes the purchase decision easier is, of course, most welcome.

One click, that's what shoppers want. That is, or should be, the goal of any retailer today, because the availability of one-click buying on the biggest search engine on the internet is priceless. Amazon is already increasingly replacing search for shoppers, who visit the retailer's site first to search for items, bypassing Google or other search engines.

Currently, mobile is largely leveraged for research, wielding tremendous influence over the in-store purchase. A recent Deloitte study estimated that 28 percent of all in-store sales were influenced by mobile devices. Shoppers are still more comfortable completing online transactions from a desktop, particularly larger transactions.

Google's solution would bring a shopper to a Google checkout page, not the retailer's page, upon clicking to buy. And those retailers that balk at this and insist on forcing the shopper to complete a sale in its own online environment where it can control the user experience should think again.

You can't control the user experience if the user never arrives at the point-of-sale.

There are few things holding shoppers back, such as security concerns. But the biggest concern by far is that buying something from a mobile device is just not that easy. Navigation is clunky and the checkout process cumbersome. Add to that the fact that many retailers built their e-commerce sites before m-commerce was even a priority and all those abandoned shopping carts and low m-commerce close rates become much less mysterious.

A buy button—on Google, Twitter, Facebook or any sites that users most often frequent—will go a long way toward solving those problems. Back-end integration of a retailer's system to a third-party solution can also help bypass older systems still in need of updating and get the shopper to checkout more quickly.

It should also better connect retailers to younger, mobile-reliant shoppers. Retailers catering to teens and millennials are already more mobile-friendly, inserting a buy button in the searches or social forums currently in use.

Is the buy button the holy grail of m-commerce? Maybe not, but it's definitely a winning proposition for retailers and websites looking to provide more services to users.  -Laura