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Google Is Not Ready For Prime Time Retailing

12/07/2010

Google’s announcement on Monday of the long-expected “Google eBooks” platform, an e-book store with 3 million volumes, most of which are free public domain works. There are hundreds of thousands of e-books that are paid titles from publishers. Google’s aim is to let users buy and read from as many devices as possible – which makes sense.

But go to “Google Products” and you’ll find a sparsely merchandised store that could easily be replicated by an eCommerce app on Facebook. The vast majority of products are found on other sites compliments of Google’s powerful search technology.

From my perch as a long-time merchant I find Google’s retailing simplicity bizarre. Clearly Google has the wherewithal to invest in merchants and technology to assort a “store”, insure superior outstanding user experience and customer service. They were, until yesterday, seriously offering $6 billion to acquire Groupon. If the deal would have transpired it would have been the third largest acquisition of all time.

If Google has the cash what’s impeding their ability to become serious merchants? Most likely their own paradigms. They are techies and smart. Retailing is for those less gifted than the nerds at Google’s Mountain View, CA headquarters. I beg to differ. Retailers, especially those still at it today, are savvy about their craft. With poker-faced steeliness retailers have carried on in arguably the most difficult period of modern retailing. Threatened by the economy, eCommerce, bartering, re-sellers (Craig’s List) – good retailers have pushed onward.

Give your business to retailers who know their craft – not to Google. Google is not taking retailing seriously which could be sign of their impeding downfall.

 

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