Facebook may know what consumers like, but it doesn’t yet understand how consumers shop. Google does and has been steadily developing that understanding with new tools to capitalize on the power of its ubiquitous analytics platform in order to grow Google Shopping.

As part of that initiative, last summer Google launched Google Trusted Stores, promising companies who participated in the program more sales and an increased average orders size. In exchange Google gets a glimpse into participants shipping and customer service data. With some merchants reporting up to 6 percent increase in conversion, that’s an easy tradeoff. To further their promise, Google has highlighted Trusted Stores in its product search results and in the Google Affiliate Network.

Today Google expanded on their efforts to own e-commerce with the acquisition of Channel Intelligence for a reported $125 million. Boasting 850 clients, Channel Intelligence has long been the leader for optimizing product feeds.  For retailers like Target and Best Buy such optimization is essential when it comes to competing on CSE platforms like NexTag, Bizrate, or Shopping.com; where updating price and tweaking bids can mean the margin between a profitable sale or a sale that comes at a loss.

Beyond product feed optimization, Channel Intelligence has some nifty tools in its arsenal that Google will surely leverage. Including Where-To-Buy, a widget that embeds within any digital asset showing consumers where to buy the products featured within the creative.

Interestingly, Channel Intelligence also provides services that optimize product feeds within Facebook and Amazon — just one of the many reasons this purchase makes sense for Google.  Talk about having an unfair data advantage over your competitors. 

Both the launch of Trusted Stores and the purchase of Channel Intelligence are stepping stones in Google’s effort to make its shopping platform as dominant as search.

Angel Djambazov is a GeekWire contributor. He is the former editor-in-chief of ReveNews and the owner of Custom Tailored Marketing.

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  • http://twitter.com/SeattleMcCarthy Kevin McCarthy

    I believe ChannelAdvisor is actually the leader in optimizing feeds, at least if you’re going by rumored revenue.

    Also I don’t think this has anything to do with Faceboook really. Google is buying them to better compete with Amazon and eBay.

    • http://www.revenews.com Angel Djambazov

      Channel Advisor is a big company and does a lot of interesting things. But from at least public numbers they are no where near as large as Channel Intelligence which boasts 850 retailers and $2 billion in annually referred sales.

      I agree that Google definitely wants to better compete with Amazon and eBay. To be as dominant in shopping as they are in search, they will have to. I just think this move was aimed more at Facebook. But sure, Google would like to hit three birds with one stone.

      • http://twitter.com/SeattleMcCarthy Kevin McCarthy

        You can now see from ChannelAdvisor’s S-1 filing that they referred $3.5 billion in sales from 1,800 retail customers, and had nearly $54 million in sales in 2012. They are much larger than CI was.

  • Alexander Embiricos

    Thanks for the article. Other than CI, what are the other major companies that provide the “Where to buy” or “Buy now” button?

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