Bill Ready, President of Commerce, Payments, and Next Billion Users at Google, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss Google e-commerce trends and outlook on the surge in e-commerce.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: The coronavirus pandemic has, of course, pushed more shoppers online, and that has added an additional $105 billion in online revenue in 2020. And this year shows no signs of bucking that trend, with more and more companies rushing to embrace e-commerce. Just today, in fact, Google announced updates to its Google Lens platform, allowing users to more easily search for the products that they’re looking for.
Joining me now is Bill Ready, President of Commerce, Payments, and Next Billion Users at Google. Bill, good to see you here. So as I mentioned, we have seen explosive growth across e-commerce in the past year. Just curious to see what kinds of trends you’re seeing there at Google.
BILL READY: Yeah, well, as you were calling out, you know, we’ve seen a decade-plus of shopping digitization that’s happened in the last 18 months. And there’s– we all know that. We’ve all lived that. There are a couple key things that I call out in terms of the trends here. You know, first of all, more and more consumers are turning to digital for inspiration. US consumers now spend more time online than ever before. On average, eight hours-plus per day for adults on digital media in 2020.
And the way that they’re doing that, they’re looking at videos and images and rich content for shopping inspiration. We’ve seen a 60% increase in Google image searches for ideas, and a remarkable 70% of customers buy a brand after seeing it on YouTube. So this engagement digitally is also leading to, you know, people looking for more rich content, more immersive ways to engage in these shopping experiences.
And we’ve also seen an increase in adoption of digitally enabled services, such as curbside pickup and same-day delivery. Searches for “available near me” have grown globally by over 100% in the last year. And interestingly, as we’ve now had, you know, things starting to reopen but there’s, you know, unevenness in that reopening, we’re seeing a lot of blending of digital experiences and in-store experiences and real-world experiences. And so we’re seeing that omnichannel experience that people have been talking about for, you know, a decade-plus actually starting to become a reality.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: So do you anticipate then seeing these elevated numbers for e-commerce? Or do you think they might start to level off as we continue, you know, to move out of this pandemic?
BILL READY: Well, the thing that we’ve seen through the pandemic is there’s been unevenness. And, you know, as you go geography to geography, they’ve been in different places in terms of reopening or restrictions for COVID. And the thing that we’ve seen that has been consistent across that is that the shift to digital has been quite consistent through all that heterogeneity and, you know, how open things are or not. And the thing that we’re seeing is that as things become more open, it’s– you know, people aren’t shifting away from digital, but they’re looking for digital experiences that blend more into the physical world.
Which gets into some of the things that we announced a search on around Google Lens, where we’re, you know, making it so that you can search what you see and shop what you see and really merging digital and physical world. So you’ve, you know, had the experience likely of a buy online or pick-up in the store. We’re making more of that available on our search surfaces. Starting today, you can look for things that are in stock near you and use that as a filter to see only places that have these available in stock.
But with Google Lens, we’re making it so that you can search images that you find, no matter where you find them, or that you can point the camera from your phone at something that you’ve encountered in the physical world, but then get the rich digital information about that item, that pair of shoes that you might have stumbled upon that you don’t know who makes them, you know, or where to get them, but you can point your phone at it, see what they are, and then, you know, find where to buy them and more information about them.
So these kinds of experiences that blend physical world and digital world, we’re seeing consumers really look for that digital enablement even in the physical world. And that’s a lot of what we’re doing with Google Lens.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Talk to me more about this search in-store inventory from home. I really like that because I– you know, the last thing I want to do is make my way to the store to find out that an item I thought they had, that I saw on the website, isn’t there after all. And especially now with all the supply chain issues we have, and inventory is really messed up in so many places. Talk to me more about how you’re leaning into e-commerce with that particular offering.
BILL READY: Yeah, absolutely. So the specific new feature that we announced a search on is that you can filter by what’s in stock. But importantly, you know, we’ve all had the experience through the pandemic of seeing that there is no one retailer that can meet every need of every consumer. And so we’ve opened up our platform and made it free and easy for merchants of all types and sizes to make their full inventory available on Google.
And so the benefit this has had for consumers is that we now have a shopping graph of more than 24 billion-plus listings that’s AI-enabled that helps marry up the, you know, intent that the user has or the thing that the user is looking for with the best product available from the best seller, with the best value, and making all that available for the user.