Google is promoting its Google Checkout payment service with a back-to-school campaign in which the search engine is using its vast reach to let consumers know about the offers. However, unlike last holiday season when Google spent $60 million on coupons to attract attention to its new payment service, this time merchants are funding the offers.
Google is publicizing the discount offers on its own sites and by advertising on other sites, Andre Brysha, vice president and chief marketing officer at Ritz Interactive Inc., tells Internet Retailer. Two of the several Ritz e-commerce sites, RitzCamera.com and BoatersWorld.com, are offering $10 off coupons to consumers who pay by clicking on the Google Checkout button.
Google created a landing page for the back-to-school promotion and placed a link to that page from the main Google Checkout site. Google is also pointing to the back-to-school page from the Google Checkout blog, a Google spokeswoman tells Internet Retailer.
Google organized the promotion into two campaigns, with the second beginning this week. Sixteen merchants are listed as participating in the current campaign, offering discounts of $5 to $20. Besides the Ritz sites, the participating merchants are Aéropostale, Beauty.com , Buy.com, Bluefly, Comp-U-Plus, Drugstore.com, Zales, Shoebuy.com, TheNerds.net, USA Notebook, Golfballs.com, SuppliesNet, Textbooks R Us, and CostCentral. Google says the offers are good through Sept. 4 unless otherwise noted. Ritz Interactive is No. 114 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, Drugstore.com No. 35, Aéropostale No. 423, Buy.com No. 38, Bluefly No. 131, Comp-U-Plus No. 147, Zale Corp. No. 189 and Golfballs.com No. 467.
Google says "tens of thousands" of merchants have integrated their sites with Google Checkout, which was introduced in June 2006. Consumers who sign up provide Google with their payment information and shipping address, and then can pay at participating merchants by clicking on the Google Checkout button and entering a password.
Brysha says results were “exceptional” last fall at the Ritz sites when Google offered $20 off coupons on purchases of at least $50, a discount of as much as $40. Even though those coupons are gone, he says customers continue to use Google Checkout, although he would not provide details. “Once a consumer signs up for it and has access to it it’s very helpful,” he says. “It’s clean and efficient.”
The Ritz sites also accept the competing PayPal Express Checkout service, which allows consumers to pay with PayPal debits to their bank accounts as well as with payment cards. Brysha says that service works well, too. “There are a lot more PayPal users than there are Google Checkout users,” he says. The 153 million registered PayPal users can use PayPal Express Checkout automatically; others have to register. PayPal has not disclosed how many consumers have signed up for PayPal Express Checkout. Google would only say that “millions” have registered for its service.