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World Retail Congress: The future of Google

Google is working on becoming “the ultimate shopping assistant”, said its global VP of shopping products Jonathan Alferness at the World Retail Congress today (September 10).

Alferness explained that this is just one of the changes Google is working on and said he is “looking forward to digitally connected future”.

Through Google Shopping, the business is looking at how purchases can be made within two clicks. There are also plans to introduce voice search for shopping.

Alferness said that, as consumers want to know more and more, they are looking to videos for information. TrueView ads on YouTube allow customers to see product they can actually buy on the site.

There has been a 34% increase in “near me” searches since 2011, he said, so Google plans to emphasise local inventory ads on the platform.

Looking to the future Alferness said: “We are moving from a world of demand to a world of suggest and assist.”

He added that we are just at the dawn of the technological revolution and mobile will be at the heart of a future, connected world. He pointed out that mobile search currently exceeds desktop in 10 countries, including the US and Japan, and this is only going to grow.

The biggest opportunity for retailers will now come from interacting with customers in their moment of need.

Alferness said retailers are failing to put themselves in from of customers when they have the intent to buy and are underusing context, so are not looking at the device, location and time of their customers shopping behaviour.

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