Confirming what many experts and industry analysts have been predicting for months now, the new head of e-commerce at Google (GOOG) went on record this week detailing the web giant’s plans for improving their own e-commerce initiatives and grabbing a bigger slice of the online shopping pie in the near future.
Stephanie Tilenius, who arrived at Google a few months ago after a long stint with eBay, declined to offer any specifics on her new employer’s strategy but did express Google’s intent on becoming a bigger player in the e-commerce game.
“There’s a recognition with hiring me that Google wants to get better at commerce,” Tilenius said during a speech in North Carolina this week. “It’s a greenfield opportunity for me. I’m coming in and saying where we should be innovating.”
Those words, coupled with Tilenius’s strong track record, should have plenty of people at Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY) concerned because obviously Google has its eyes set on competing directly with those two e-commerce leaders very soon. In fact, Google named them both as direct competitors for the first time ever in its annual filing this year.
Google was already well on its way towards developing e-commerce solutions before Tilenius arrived back in February, having built product review sections, mobile shopping applications and virtual storefronts for small retailers all in the last six months alone. Since her arrival, she’s been focusing on new revenue streams outside of Google’s traditional paid advertising, as well as devising a way to integrate Google Checkout with other services on the site.
Tilenius also noted that the company is trying to lower the $50k price tag it currently charges for retailers to add a Google search tab on their own sites. But all of her work to this point is aimed at streamlining the shopping process for consumers while retaining customers, and that means looking into every available opportunity.
“We’re doing everything we can to integrate commerce and mobile and local,” she said. “We have all the data to do that.”
It might be another 8 to 12 months before we really start to see the effects of Google’s aggressive e-commerce expansion plans under Tilenius’s leadership. But there’s no doubt that they’re coming. And while Tilenius’s ambitions should certainly worry Amazon and eBay, it’s music to the ears of many smaller vendors and merchants who would love the opportunity to expand and have their products on Google.
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