In 2020, people around the globe benefited from digital services more than ever. Internet usage has increased by 60 percent. E-commerce trade across the European Union has posted double-digit percentage growth since last year. Searches for the phrase “how to buy online” have jumped 200 percent worldwide.
Retailers are trying to adapt and meet evolving customer demands amidst the challenges brought on by the pandemic. At Google, we care deeply about helping retailers and providing our users with the most relevant information when they search for products. This sector alone accounts for more than nine percent of jobs in the European Union and is set to play a pivotal role in the region’s economic recovery.
Google’s Accelerating Retail initiative provides a range of useful technology, relevant insights, tools and training to bring retailers closer to their customers. So far we’ve engaged with more than 13,000 retailers across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).
In Europe, our commitment to the retail sector extends to another group: Comparison Shopping Services (CSSs). These are websites that help retailers showcase their products online. They collect product offers from online retailers, surface them to shoppers and send prospective buyers directly to retailers’ websites to make their purchases.
A demonstration of how CSSs connect shoppers with retailers on the Google Search results page, using Shopping ads. In Europe, retailers participate in Shopping ads by partnering with one or several CSSs.
As part of our efforts to support and strengthen the overall retail ecosystem, we have also expanded our offerings for Comparison Shopping Services. Our free resources and tools available through the CSS Program assist them in several areas of their business operations, including:
Managing product inventory from retailers at scale
Receiving comprehensive support to optimize the performance of their Shopping ads
A bespoke online Google platform providing up-to-date training, market data, and product optimization tips.
The program currently helps 700 active participants, representing tens of thousands of retailers. Within our CSS Program, we have a Comparison Shopping Partners program, which gives certified CSSs access to additional benefits. This includes direct collaboration with Google experts on the most advanced technical topics related to Shopping ads.
Merchants are seeing the value of these initiatives across the region. For example, Rituals Cosmetics, a luxury bath and body brand active in 28 countries, was looking for a partner to help them improve their performance marketing. They turned to their CSS, Producthero, for help. Together, Rituals and Producthero scaled Shopping ads with smart bidding and other advanced features. Combined with Producthero's own product feed optimization tool, Rituals achieved a triple-digit turnover increase in online sales within their spend targets.
Together with Producthero, we have completely changed our overall Shopping ads strategy. This was valuable not only for the performance marketing team but also for Rituals as a company.
We know that technology can help retailers reach a broad customer base as shoppers increasingly browse and buy online. Google is committed to continue investing in the retail industry through the CSS program and other tools and products designed especially for retailers. We want to help the industry adapt, grow, and achieve success with relevant ads that bring them closer to their customers.