What’s happening at Google according to Stephanie Tilenius

Stephanie Tilenius was until recently head of global product and North America at eBay until she left to join Google. She spoke at the ChannelAdvisor US Catalyst conference on Google’s plans for ecommerce and James Scott, Managing Director of ChannelAdvisor UK who was present at the talk has been kind enough to provide a summary of what she had to say:

I recently crossed the pond to attend our US version of the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst conference. One of the keynote speakers was Stephanie Tilenius, Google’s new VP of e-commerce, who was speaking for the first time since coming on board with Google. Only nine weeks into her job, Tilenius earned her e-commerce stripes with nine years of experience heading e-commerce for eBay.

She focused on four areas that Google is “placing its bets” going forward: mobile, social, personalisation and local, then gave an overview of new Google tools to help out online retailers.

Some key takeaways from the presentation:

  • Mobile
    • Of late, Google’s seen 30 times the amount of mobile phone “shopping” queries
    • Technology innovation – new Google Goggles application enables the user to take a picture of an item and it pulls up a price comparison. The Goggles technology is pretty impressive and went down well with the audience. The cool part here came when she gave out 10 Google Nexus One phones to random (i.e. lucky) “brand ambassadors” in the audience.
  • Social
    • According to Tilenius, 19 percent of tweets mention a brand or product and 83 percent of online shoppers said they are interested in sharing details of what they’ve purchased.
    • Reviews written by buyers can be a fantastic source of feedback to product development or product sourcing teams – find out how the customer thinks your products could improve.
  • Personalisation
    • More and more product designers are looking to the Internet for inspiration from their shoppers. Polyvore.com is a site that lets users design their own personal fashion looks and share it with others.
    • Sites like Ray-Ban let you upload a picture so you can virtually “try on” sunglasses.
  • Local
    • Google has a feature called “Near Me Now” that lets you more easily look up restaurants, shops, cash machines, etc. that are nearby.
    • Google is also testing technology that allows shoppers to see real-time inventory quantities of products in shops near them
  • Other Google Updates
    • Google just launched a partnership with Bazaarvoice to bring reviews to Google Product Pages. This is the first of several partnerships to improve the content and therefore value of Google Product Search
    • Last year the busiest shopping day wasn’t before Christmas, it was December 26th, which was a surprise for many retailers.
    • Google Analytics
      • The Opportunities Tab offers a tool that shows you the keywords that shoppers are using in their searches, and suggests bids for those keywords.
      • The Ad Planner Tab allows you to plug in your target audience then see the websites that are frequented by that demographic so you can spend your ad money accordingly.
    • Google just launched an ad retargeting tool called “remarketing.”
    • Google Trends is an invaluable free tool which helps retailers get ahead of the buyer curve and adapt their marketing accordingly – e.g. look back 4 years and see how many days before the start of the 2006 World Cup the search traffic to terms like ‘plasma TVs’ started to ramp up. Use that data to plan your strategy for this World Cup. Clever stuff.

Overall, for only nine weeks of experience, Tilenius delivered quite a bit of information, tips and trends. We’re looking forward to seeing what she and Google have in store. Her next public presentation will be at the IRCE event in early June.

Disclosure – ChannelAdvisor advertise with TameBay