Google wants to be the anti-Amazon of e-commerce. There is still a long way to go.
Partnering with Shopify was especially meaningful as hundreds of thousands of small businesses have done it streamed to the software platform during the pandemic. According to research firm eMarketer, around 9 percent of online shopping sales in the United States in October were in stores operated by Shopify. That was a 6 percent increase last year and the second largest after Amazon’s 37 percent share.
Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify, said Google and Shopify are developing new ways for merchants to sell through Google services, such as experiments that allow customers to buy items directly on YouTube and see which products are doing business on Google Maps.
Mr. Ready walked a fine line when it came to Amazon, which is a big buyer of ads on Google, but made it clear that he believed that Amazon’s dominance in e-commerce posed a threat to other retailers.
“Nobody wants to live in a world where there is only one place to buy something and retailers don’t want to be dependent on gatekeepers,” he said in an interview.
Google said it had increased the number of sellers that appear in its results by 80 percent in 2020, with the most significant growth coming from small and medium-sized businesses. And existing retailers are listing more products.
Overstock.com, a seller of discount furniture and home bedding, said it has paid in the past to list products on Google. But now that the listings are free, Overstock is also adding low-margin products.
“If all purchases start and end on Amazon, it’s bad for the industry,” said Jonathan E. Johnson, CEO of Overstock. “It’s nice to have another 800-pound tech gorilla in this room.”
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