Mobile shopping is exploding. No surprise there, since people are shifting from PCs to tablets in large numbers, and shopping on tablets, by most accounts, is a far better experience than shopping on either computers or smartphones.
What is surprising is that Google seems to be losing big as this shift happens, according to a new study from ChannelAdvisor, an e-commerce software firm which helps big retailers sell on platforms like Amazon, eBay, and search engines.
So far this month, Amazon and eBay's sales are way up over last year—41.5% and 24.5% respectively. Sales through search and comparison shopping engines are flat or down.
At the same time, sales are strongly shifting off of PCs—an environment where shopping typically starts by typing what you're looking for into a search engine—and onto tablets and smartphones, where it's much more common to shop with an app.
ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo gives an example: Imagine you're buying a flat-screen TV, an HDMI cable, and a Blu-ray player. On Google, he points out, those are three separate searches—and for each one, you have to evaluate a merchant, figure out shipping, and check out. On Amazon and eBay, you can get all of those items with a single checkout.
And on mobile, he says, Amazon and eBay's advantage in simplicity is "amplified."
Remember, Google makes most of its money off of searches with "commercial intent"—searches where a consumer wants to buy something. If Amazon and eBay are satisfying that intent, swooping in with custom-built apps that are all about shopping, before the customer ever gets to a search box, Google is in trouble.
No wonder Google executives are terrified of Amazon.
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