Google Evolution: From Google Product Search to Google Shopping

We’ve been rating the Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs) since 2009, highlighting key variables for online merchants such as traffic, revenue, return on sales and customer service.

Since the beginning of our Comparison Shopping Report, Google Shopping has been a large part of ecommerce strategy for online merchants.

Lets take a look at the evolution of Google over the last 5  years.

Google 5  year evolution

Google Shopping 5 Year Growth

* Based on Comparison Shopping Report data from Q3 2009 vs. Q3 2013.

Google Shopping Revenue

Despite 5 years of algorithm changes, updates and policy fluctuations, Google is and consistently has been the best source of revenue for online merchants among the comparison shopping engines.

Revenue Rank 2009 2013
Highest Revenue Generating Engine Google Product Search Google Shopping
2nd Highest Revenue Generating Engine Shopzilla Nextag
3rd Highest Revenue Generating Engine Nextag Pricegrabber

In 2009, Google Product Search was the #1 revenue generating CSE followed by Shopzilla, Nextag and Shopping. In 2013, Google Shopping is also the highest revenue genreating shopping channel followed by Nextag and Pricegrabber.

Google Shopping Traffic

As a free Comparison Shopping Engine, Google generated a considerable amount of click traffic in 2009, and did up to 2012 as a free engine.

Traffic Rank 2009 2013
Highest Traffic Generating Engine Shopzilla Google
2nd Highest Traffic Generating Engine Pricegrabber Pricegrabber
3rd Highest Traffic Generating Engine Nextag Nextag

 

For Q3 2009, Google ranked 5th highest traffic after Shopzilla, Pricegrabber, Nextag, and Shopping.com.

This Q3 2013, Google Shopping dominates click traffic, as the number one traffic generating CSE, followed by Pricegrabber and Nextag. Naturally Google Shopping’s 2013 click traffic is no longer free, but online merchants can still rely on the CSE to generate product clicks.

Google Shopping COS

In 2009, paid Google Shopping wasn’t even a sparkle in Google’s eye. Google Product Search however, was a great Comparison Shopping Engine for online merchants. Free traffic, high conversion rate and a 0% COS.

COS Rank 2009 2013
Lowest COS Generating Engine Google Product Search Google Shopping
2nd Lowest COS Generating Engine Cashack Nextag
3rd Lowest COS Generating Engine Shopping Pricegrabber

Fast forward five years and Google Shopping is a paid program, with a 17% COS, one of the highest among all of the CSEs, surpassed only by Become and Pronto.

* Please note: Bing and Google Shopping have a 0% COS for 2013. However Bing Shopping is gated, and free Google Shopping traffic fluctuates and sometimes disappears.

Best and Worst of Google

Although many things have changed withing search and paid advertising over the last 5 years, Google has stayed remarkably consistent with customer support, merchant tools and overall performance.

CSE Ranking Metric 2009 2013
Top CSE Google Product Search Google Shopping
Worst Merchant Responsiveness Engine Google Product Search Google Shopping
Best Merchant Tools Engine Google Product Search Google Shopping

For 5 years running, Google Shopping is the number one CSE choice for online merchants with the  best merchant tools. Despite having the worst  merchant support among all of the CSEs (10 out of 10) for that same time period.

 

What’s next for Google? Stay tuned for the Q3 2013 Comparison Shopping Report for a closer look at Google this Q3!

 

About the AuthorMary Weinstein is the Director of Content at CPC Strategy, and an expert in Retail Search, Google Shopping and Digital Marketing. A NY native, Mary spends her time educating online merchants, hiking and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can also find her work on SEW, SEMRush, MOZ and Practical Ecommerce. See all posts by this author here.