Google Looks to India to Expand its ‘Shopping’ Feature

April Davis By April Davis | 17 Oct 2018

While the Google Shopping tab has been through a number of iterations in Western markets, it’s yet to be introduced in emerging areas like India. According to insiders, the global powerhouse is about to level the playing field for Indian merchants.

Google is reportedly developing a version of its popular ‘shopping’ tab for its Indian users, with two people close to the project revealing the tech giant’s plans to The Economic Times.
According to insiders, online shoppers in India should be able to search for products on Google in the shopping tab, and then buy them directly from a merchants website by the end of the year.
A Google spokesperson has reportedly confirmed the rumours, saying, “We are always exploring options to help consumers find the products they want to buy more quickly and efficiently from local merchants.”
Inside sources have also said that Google is in talks with local e-commerce players, Flipkart, Paytm Mall and Snapdeal, to be among the first business’s featured in the shopping tab. Google has neither confirmed or denied these rumours.
India’s e-commerce market has been on the rise in recent years, with the entrance of Amazon and the sale of Flipkart sparking competitive juices within the sector. In June this year, research from eMarketer indicated that the industry would grow by 31 percent by the end of 2018, making it a serious player in the global market.
It’s estimated that 25 percent of India’s population will take up online shopping by year’s end, with this figure rising to 41.6 percent by 2022. This rapid expansion is believed to be a result of American department store chain, Walmart, acquiring India’s largest e-commerce player, Flipkart in a US$16 billion deal.
Amazon has also been investing heavily in the space, expanding its own presence by dropping extra cash into the market, and training local craftsman on how to use its platform to generate sales outside of their local communities. The e-commerce giant has also made heavy investments in internet and smartphone usage in the country, encouraging the country’s younger and middle-class populations to jump online.
“E-commerce is booming in India thanks to increased internet users and cheaper smartphones,” said Eric Haggstrom, forecasting analyst at eMarketer.
Initially, the introduction of Google Shopping in India will likely benefit the region’s dominant marketplaces, however, the company is also looking at helping SME’s boost their online visibility.
Insiders believe Google will tap into its network of registered small and medium enterprises to help customers find the products their looking for faster.
The introduction of the shopping tab will also provide Google with a valuable data resource, allowing the Silicon-Valley company to learn more about Indian shopping trends, which in turn, will help it improve the effectiveness of its e-commerce functionalities.
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