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10/12/2011
06:41 PM
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Google Opens Reseller Program For E-Commerce Search

Google's designated e-commerce allies can help businesses deploy mobile shopping sites, maybe in time for the holidays.

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Google has launched a reseller program to promote the adoption of Google Commerce Search by online retailers.

"We wanted to make it easier for retailers to adopt Google Commerce Search to help them achieve amazing results and meet their customers' needs," said Nitin Mangtani, group product manager of Google Commerce in a blog post. "Through this new program, resellers can work with us to bring the unique capabilities of Google Commerce Search to their retail clients."

Google began operating a reseller program for Google Apps in January 2009 and has seen its Apps business grow as a result. Now it's looking for allies to help promote Commerce Search.

The company introduced Google Commerce Search in November 2009 to provide a hosted e-commerce solution for companies selling goods online. The service offers merchants a way to customize their search engines to support features like keyword synonyms, alternate spellings, and targeted promotions.

[Find out more about the convergence of social, local, and mobile. Read How RadioShack Lures Customers With Foursquare.]

As the sale of mobile devices continues to eclipse the sale of traditional computers, Google is encouraging merchants to consider working with one of its resellers to develop mobile-friendly e-commerce sites in time for the holiday shopping season.

As an example of what a mobile-friendly site can mean to a business, Mangtani cites the work of Branding Brand, one of Google's inaugural resellers. Prior to working with Branding Brand, nutritional supplement seller GNC received some 10% to 15% of its e-commerce traffic from mobile devices. Once a mobile-friendly version of its site had been deployed, GNC saw twice as many visitors using search and a 50% increase in mobile conversions.

Google's effort to help companies develop mobile sales competency reflects its own focus on mobile, the source of an increasing amount of traffic and revenue for the company.

Smartphones, said Google SVP of ads Susan Wojcicki during the company's Q2 2011 conference call for investors, are "becoming key to the shopping experience." Other Google mobile shopping initiatives include Google Wallet and Google Offers.

Google has even been conducting research into how consumers are using mobile and tablet devices for shopping. The company said that based on its findings, it expects that 15% of all searches on "Black Friday"--the Friday following the Thanksgiving holiday--will be from mobile devices and that 44% of searches for last-minute gifts and terms associated with store locations will be from mobile devices.

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