September 14, 2011, 12:44 PM

Google to beef up search within Google Shopping

The new product search results page will include more images and highlight local retailers.

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Google Inc. plans to launch a product search page within Google Shopping.

Stephanie Tilenius, Google’s vice president of commerce and payments, said that the search engine’s new product search page will launch “momentarily” and display sets of products in a way that will appeal to shoppers. She showed the new look of the Google Shopping product search page this morning during her presentation at the 2011 Shop.org Annual Summit in Boston.

The page she presented showed results for an apparel search and featured multiple large product images in addition to text links. “Product search results will show more curated sets of products,” she said. “This is a platform to get products to consumers.”

She provided no further details and did not take questions.

Eric Best, CEO of Mercent Corp., says the new look will launch Sept. 22. Mercent helps e-retailers sell through online marketplaces, including Google Shopping. “The new search engine results page is designed to increase search relevance to consumers,” he told Internet Retailer at Shop.org.

With the redesign, Google will require retailers to provide more data about products in their product feeds, such as UPC codes and manufacturer data, so that Google can make search results more relevant to consumers. Best says that requiring this data will help Google get more clarity about the products being sold and allow it to use other parts of its search algorithm, such as a site having unique content, to provide consumers with the best overall results according to its formula. This will help eliminate consumers from having to page through several pages of search results showing the same product from different sellers, Best says.

He says the product search results page will also place an emphasis on local retailer results. “More screen real estate is dedicated to Google Local and includes maps and store location information, inventory availability and pricing,” he says.

Best says the focus on local search results represents a greater revenue opportunity for Google because consumers make most retail purchases locally. Tilenius, in her presentation, emphasized that 80% of retail spending is local and described how the mobile phone is bridging the divide between the web and stores.

“We believe there is a whole new playing field developing. These are web-connected, location-aware consumers that go to retailers,” she said. “We are creating efficiencies to connect online and offline.”

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