Is John Smith your most hesitant customer? If so, you’re not alone. Recently, many e-commerce sellers on Google Shopping or Merchant Center have noticed the indecisive Smith ditching his shopping cart at the checkout phase.
Mr Smith Exists Only in the (Google) Matrix
“John Smith” is the pseudonymous name of a recent Google effort to get accurate pricing information on Google Shopping or Google Merchant Center. GoogleBots have begun adding items to carts of participating merchants and proceeding to checkout, to ensure the price at checkout is the same as the price given on the product page. Ultimately, merchants risk disapproval of their items if their pricing is inconsistent.
The issue with abandoned carts in Google Shopping
So, GoogleBots are checking for sellers who are gaming the Philippines Photo Editor system with dishonest or misleading pricing practices. That sounds all well and good. But do the sellers think?
Google has acknowledged as much. In a statement to Search Engine Land, Google said that GoogleBots’ latest function “sometimes leads to merchants seeing abandoned carts as a result of our system testing the price displayed matches the price at checkout.” They added that they’re working to clarify the difference between automated systems and authentically abandoned carts, so that merchants can make more efficient use of their Analytics data.
Accurate pricing is a major UX touchpoint
Misleading prices on a product listing page—or prices that appear different at checkout—may earn a seller a few extra bucks here and there from buyers too rushed or lazy to abandon their cart at checkout and start their product search all over again. However, the impact on consumer trust and your brand’s reputation will cost you far more in the long-run than you stand to gain. For Google, there’s a larger risk that users will ultimately lose trust in Google Shopping and Merchant Center at large.