I came across Google shopping quite accidentally. For someone who spends a lot of time online, this is quite a surprise really because Google shopping has being around for a long time now. A friend asked me to recommend a good, but fairly prized laptop to purchase. Naturally I did what a 21st century online savvy dude would do. I googled it. Compared specs and prices of the various products on offer, and made a choice. But while hunting down readers review of my laptop of choice, I decided, out of curiosity, to click on the ‘shopping’ tab that appears at the top of any Google search page.
And just like that I entered a whole new world of online shopping. It was a real eye-opener for me. I ended up spending over two hours navigating Google shopping. Checking out other listed products on Google shopping and marveling at my ignorance. I think I need to change my friends and get friends who add value to my shopping choices!
Created by Craig Nevill-Manning, Google shopping originally started out as froogle before several name changes saw it metamorphosed to Google Product Search, Google Products and finally Google shopping all in a space of a decade, between 2002 and 2012. As froogle, it used Google’s Web Crawler to compare prices of different products which made it far better than other websites offering the same services.
As the name got rebranded, the services offered also changed until the final (present) change to Google shopping; when Google announced that to have a product listed, the merchants must pay a fee to Google. Formerly it was a free service for merchants and Google only made money the same way Google search makes money through Adwords keyword advertising.
Turning Google shopping into a paid service was initially greeted with lots of criticisms, but the service has grown since then while maintaining that business model. For the Merchants, products are given prominence depending on how much you pay Google for the listing. Which in a way favors only the big stores with more money dedicated to online adverts.
For me in Nigeria, I really love it that this choice is available. Even though the service is not available in Nigeria, I can still buy goods from there. It has become my best alternative to eBay and Amazon. Looking for a product is quite easy just like in eBay. Just input the variables of the product you need (like price range, model, new or refurbished, etc), and you get your product listings.
Now this is the part I like the most, for every product you chose, alternative products are listed in the same category. So you are given choices to either get your choice from a different store at a cheaper price or at a slightly higher price from a another shop. You are spoilt for choices.
Since it is not available in Nigeria, how do you buy your laptop through Google shopping? Simple I should think. Just use your debit card to pay for the goods and ask the store to ship to your preferred address in the US. There are many wonderful Nigerians helping us ship goods bought in the US to Nigeria at a very convenient price. They can even help you buy the goods from the online store and ship it to you in Nigeria. Here is why I prefer this to eBay: in Google shopping, buying a cheap product is never subjected to bidding which can be quite a job in itself. The bidding process I mean. And in Google shopping, most of the merchants are very reputable online stores or affiliated with reputable companies. So the chances of being scammed are very diminished.
Give it a try someday.