Google’s Newest PLA Testing Favors Discount Prices

Leveraging Price: Google’s Newest PLA Feature

Price matters in online retail and Google has finally caught on to that fact. If Amazon has taught the retail industry anything, it’s that the lowest price is usually the best price. After all, products that make it into its coveted Buy Box generally have the lowest price. One of Amazon’s biggest competitors, Google, has been a bit more egalitarian on its marketplace.

Regardless of price, retailers that pay for Google’s cost per click Product Listing Ads (PLAs) all show up when shoppers search for those particular items. Until recently, there hasn’t been any differentiation between the higher and lower priced options.

Helping Customers Find The Best Deal

Back in May, Search Engine Land found PLAs that sported “Value Alert” under certain items that didn’t necessarily even have the lowest prices. This could have had more to do with the amount the product was discounted, compared to its original price. While the most recent iteration could be a continuation of that initial test, it differs in a few ways.

Online Shopping Google PLA PriceLast week, TechCrunch pointed out that a change could be on the horizon for the search giant’s Comparison Shopping Engine (CSE). Usually, sponsored ads include an image of the item, the title, price, retailer, and a star rating. But new text below the standard information alerted shoppers that that particular item was a certain percentage off. Instead of having a handful of items at similar prices, shoppers now have an extra incentive to click on what is presented as the cheaper version.

How will Google’s New PLA Impact Retailers?

It’s interesting to consider Google’s motivation for this added feature. Could competitive pressure be getting to them? Maybe not, but Google still seems to be jumping into the deep end with all the other online marketplaces that highlight the cheapest items. With Amazon reigning supreme in the online retail game and its newest challenger, Jet, jumping into the ring, it’s time for Google to step up its game to avoid getting overlooked.

This might just be a test for now, but it’s clear that competitive pricing is as important as ever in an incredibly saturated online retail market. Could this mean that retailers are going to get more competitive on price when promoting their goods on Google Shopping? It’s very possible. But what is much more likely is that shoppers are about to get a lot more aware of price differences across retailers.

If they are offered the same item from multiple sellers and a helpful message notifies them that one is 10% lower than the average, their purchase decision could be made right then and there.

About the AuthorAngelica Valentine is the Content Marketing Manager at Wiser, a pricing intelligence provider for retailers, brands, and manufacturers. She is a contributor to VentureBeat, Bigcommerce, The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce, and more. She holds a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University. See all posts by this author here.