Unless you provide the best service, have the cheapest prices and offer a convenient location you should be worried by Google Related. It’s a new toolbar plugin by Google which shows website content that’s related to the page you are currently on.
The plugin is available now but only works with Internet Explorer and Chrome. What’s dangerous about the plugin is that the related information gives customers ultimate power, letting them compare prices, reviews and locations without leaving your site. Here’s a breakdown of those important comparisons:
The Internet has already put pricing at the forefront of people’s minds, making it easy to search for a product and compare multiple stores quickly, such as via Google Shopping. Now that functionality sits in the bottom of your web browser. So when you visit a website if it’s not the cheapest you’ll be able to see other prices easily. By clicking on the tab you can quickly compare the relative costs and navigate elsewhere should you find a better deal. If you’re a reseller or ecommerce site and don’t offer the cheapest prices, then it’s hard to see why a customer would stay.
The reviews available in Google Local are now loaded in to the toolbar, letting users see what other customers think of a company directly on their site. This gives customers extra power, and they can even see all your reviews good and bad. This causes further issues when you consider a lot of brands are writing fake positive reviews for themselves, whilst also fabricating negative reviews for competitors.
If your competitors are local, then another issue is that customers can now see every similar local business nearby. So if your reviews aren’t great they can quickly find other places to go. Likewise if a competitor is closer to the customer, they have an added chance of getting the business.
This is a nice touch, and the one part brands should embrace. If there is relevant video / image content available then it will appear on the bar. It’s not perfect (a search for the Intbetweeners movie gave me a video for a BBC Radio version of Planet of the Apes), but when it works it’s another way for customers to check out a product before they buy.
What it means
Google Related doesn’t arm customers with any information they couldn’t already find out directly from a Google search. However, by putting the information in their hands at the time of purchase, it gives them more power to make informed decisions – or worse, to hesitate and make no purchase. It is fantastic for consumers, giving them chance to get the best price, the highest quality and to make a sound choice with their money.
For businesses it’s tricky. Brands have known for years they need to offer competitive pricing and quality of service, but Google Related really helps to emphasise the importance of this. Customers are now smarter than ever, with more information at their disposal and an ability to compare businesses or products instantly. This new toolbar will only serve to add to this awareness.
As a marketer you should:
- Ensure your prices are the best for like for like goods
- Explain the quality difference if your products cost more
- Add all your business locations to Google Places
- Add multimedia to your site so customers can see a product before they buy
- Encourage customers to leave reviews
Completing these steps increases the chance of positive information appearing in the related bar. After all, if Google can confirm to customers you are the best choice then that’s just another reason for them to buy from you.