Google’s Shoploop Rides the eCommerce Wave

The current environment continues to be opportune for all-things eCommerce. With retail shutdowns and overall apprehensive shoppers, eCommerce is getting its chance to shine. In “normal” times, it represents about 11 percent of U.S. consumer spending. Now it’s 14.5 percent according to eMarketer.

Following this shift are a flurry of new product launches and pivots from tech giants who facilitate various flavors of eCommerce for SMBs. That includes Facebook and Instagram’s eCommerce developments, Snapchat SMB paid listings; and Walmart’s collaboration with Shopify.

Google has been a big part of this list since mid-march, doing things like shifting priorities around key Google My Business details (think: hours of operation), and repositioning Google Shopping. As with all of the above cases, this comes with a mix of altruism and opportunism to acquire new merchants.

The latest from Google is its Shoploop web app. Flowing from its Area 120 innovation center, the app lets small sellers exhibit their wares through 90-second videos. Users can in turn browse a feed of videos, search for products, save things, follow sellers and transact when they’re ready to check out.

This makes it part TikTok, part Amazon, part Pinterest and part QVC.  In fact, Google says that Shoploop was inspired by consumers that use a combination of social media, video and e-commerce sites in tandem. But instead of bouncing around, Shoploop is meant to converge the process into one.

Google writes:

“The experience on Shoploop is more interactive than just scrolling through images, titles and descriptions on a traditional e-commerce site. All Shoploop videos are shorter than 90 seconds and help you discover new products in an entertaining way, whether you want to try at-home nail stickers, revive your second-day hair or get a concealer that gives full coverage.”

Speaking of Amazon and QVC, we should mention that Amazon is likewise making moves to enable QVC-style product videos from sheltered-in-place marketplace sellers. This includes lots of new features for its existing Amazon Live program, such as giving influencers an easier way to participate.

But the real elephant in the room is YouTube. It’s become a shopping and product discovery powerhouse over the past decade, and Google has leaned into that to some degree. That includes YouTube’s new ad format that puts shoppable ad products below videos.

This all leads to the question of whether or not Shoploop has synergies with its corporate cousin. It isn’t unusual for Area 120 projects to exist in a vacuum and overlap other Google products, but we’ll see if there are any eventual integrations that make sense. Until then, it remains fairly independent.

The time is right for all of this, not just for the obvious and above-stated reasons of global lockdowns and retail constraints. 41 percent of SMBs in Localogy’s Modern Commerce Monitor report that they are more adaptable now to new technologies. 40 percent express an interest in eCommerce specifically.

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