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We first introduced Google Wallet's tap and pay feature in 2011, and since then, mobile payments have grown rapidly. You can use the Google Wallet app on Android devices, on any carrier network, to tap and pay anywhere NFC is accepted. Over the years, we've received great feedback from people who use this feature and we’ve continued investing to make it easy and secure for more people to pay with their phones. A big part of this is working with other innovators in the industry to help provide a seamless experience across a wide range of phones and stores.

So today, we’re excited to announce that we're working with AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, as well as their mobile payments company Softcard, to help more Android users get the benefits of tap and pay. Under this relationship, the Google Wallet app, including the tap and pay functionality, will come pre-installed on Android phones (running KitKat or higher) sold by these carriers in the US later this year. We’re also acquiring some exciting technology and intellectual property from Softcard to make Google Wallet better.

From tap and pay to storing loyalty and gift cards to sending money to friends, we've been working hard to make the Google Wallet app even more useful to you -- and there's lots more to come.

Posted by Ariel Bardin, Vice President of Payments


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When shoppers search for the best deals online, they want to know the full cost of an item -- including the cost of shipping. In fact, we’ve seen that unexpected shipping costs are a common reason for users abandoning their online shopping purchases. That’s why we’ve been focused on making it even easier for you to showcase the right shipping cost to online shoppers, when they’re ready to buy.

Carrier-calculated rates in Google Merchant Center are an easy and convenient way to set up accurate shipping rates if you use one of the supported carriers. In the US, several major carriers recently announced that they’ve begun applying dimensional weight pricing when calculating the rates of their shipments. With this change, package pricing not only factors in the weight of the package, but also its dimensions.

To help you show accurate shipping rates for your items, we’re introducing support for dimensional weight shipping rates in Google Merchant Center. This update lets you define the dimensions of your packages used in shipping taking into account the length, width, and height of a package -- in addition to the weight you already provide.

We’ve created three new attributes that you can add to your product data to provide the dimensions of shipping packages for an item: ‘shipping length’, ‘shipping width’, and ‘shipping height’. Starting today, when you include these attributes, Google will calculate carrier-calculated shipping rates for supported carriers by taking into account dimensional weights. This ensures that calculated rates reflect dimensional shipping rates to provide users with the most accurate costs.

To learn more about dimensional shipping, visit our Help Center article, and select ‘United States’ at the top.

Posted by Sven Herschel, Product Manager, Google Merchant Center

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Since we announced Send Money in Gmail, paying back your friends has never been so simple, whether you’re chipping in for lunch or reimbursing your housemate for your share of the rent. Today, we're excited to make this feature available for Gmail users in the UK.
This means people in the UK will now be able to quickly and securely send money to friends and family in the UK directly within desktop Gmail -- even if the recipient doesn't have a Gmail address. Sending and receiving money in Gmail is free and easy. To send money in Gmail, hover over the attachment paperclip, click the £ icon to attach money to your message, enter the amount you wish to send, and press send. You can also request money in Gmail by hovering over the attachment paperclip and clicking the £ icon to attach the request to a Gmail message.



When you receive money for the first time, you’ll need to claim it by setting up a Google Wallet Balance and linking your debit card or bank account. After that, your money can be kept in your Wallet Balance for later sending, for spending on Google Play, or you can quickly transfer it to your bank account.

We’re rolling out this feature over the coming weeks to all UK Gmail users over 18 years old, so keep an eye out for the £ icon in the attachment options. Learn more at google.co.uk/wallet.
Posted by Travis Green, Product Manager, Google Wallet

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December of 2014 may be remembered as the first truly omni-channel holiday season: the year retailers really stretched the sales funnel to include mobile, store visits and online buying under one big connected holiday umbrella.

Let's take a break from the holiday dash to see what we can learn from companies that have been creating unified shopping experiences for consumers while ringing in bigger and better profits for themselves. We'll start with a salute to three great examples of omni-channel thinking: Macy's, Sephora and REI.

Macy's

When over 15,000 people streamed into Macy's main New York City store at 6 pm this Thanksgiving Day, CEO Terry Lundgren wasn't too surprised. Omni-channel helped put those shoppers there. “So far, people are gravitating to the doorbusters," Lundgren said the next day. "There’s so much information online, so they’re doing that research and going right for those doorbusters."1

Macy's has been working for years to focus its marketing and retail teams into a group with a single vision on omni-channel conversions just like these.



"That incentive, of growing the number of omni-channel customers, is something we have shared over the last couple of years," says Jennifer Kasper, Macy's Group VP for Digital Media and Multi-cultural Marketing.

Sephora

"In retail, you can't think of mobile as a threat. You have to think about it as a magnet to draw that client into your store." That quote from Bridget Dolan, Sephora's VP Interactive Media, says it all about how Sephora has been winning with omni-media.

Sephora's progressive approach is the result of watching, and actually listening to, its customers. Today the Sephora mobile app lets shoppers scan products right off the shelf and see if they're right for their look. They can also look up past purchases, in case they want that same great shade of lipstick or eye shadow again.



New research shows that 46% of shoppers who use mobile devices in-store say they turn to the retailer’s site or app for information while they shop.2 "I really can't believe how much of our traffic is now coming from mobile devices," says Bridget Dolan, "and how many of our clients are using search as the way that they figure out which products they want to buy while they're standing in-store."

REI

The trusted outdoor retailer’s stores – especially its flagship locations -- are paradise for anyone who plays outside. REI now uses digital as a way to pull customers right into that local store experience.  After researching online, REI customers come into the store to try on those hiking boots or skis and then make the purchase.



Google/Ispos/Sterling research shows 69% of shoppers say they gather information from physical stores at some point in their shopping cycle.3 "One of the things we know definitively is that all of our digital tools really connect our members to our stores," says Annie Zipfel, SVP of Marketing for REI. "So they're often researching product online… and ultimately they're coming in the store to make that purchase."

What can we take away from these three examples of omni-channel success?

1) Care less about where. All three of these retailers are focused on using all channels to drive sales — wherever those sales might happen. As Jennifer Kasper of Macy's puts it, "The bottom line is, we're indifferent to whether [a shopper] converts in the store or online. We just want her to shop with Macy's."

2) Make mobile a magnet. The best omni-channel retailers make mobile a part of their in-store experience, inviting shoppers to use their hand-held devices as they browse. As Bridget Dolan of Sephora says, "We really welcome our clients to take out their phones in our store. A client that really knows exactly what she's buying, all the reviews, all her options... is actually a happier client and will come back and shop with you more often."

3) Bring down internal barriers. Annie Zipfel of REI says, "It is a smaller and smaller group that shops only in the store, or only online." If you still keep separate online and offline marketing teams, it may be time to think about bringing them, and their incentives, together so they can speak to customers in the way those customers shop now.

Happy omnidays, retailers!

Posted by Julie Krueger, Retail Industry Director

Visit the Local Retail Playbook to see our new “Digital Impact On In-Store Shopping” research about how consumers are shopping on and offline, and how retailers are responding this holiday season.

1"CEOs of Target, Macy's, and Others Weigh In on Black Friday Sales." Fortune.com, November 28, 2014. http://goo.gl/lz3s0t
2"Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping." Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Sterling Brands, October 2014. http://goo.gl/4TU0sY
3ibid.

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With more and more retailers offering holiday deals earlier in the season, the excitement about Black Friday is no longer confined to a single day. Now it’s more like a month-long event. As a result, one in five shoppers plan to head to stores on Thanksgiving Day to capitalize on Black Friday deals.1

To get a read on the trends heading into Black Friday, we took the temperature of holiday shopping online. We looked at search trends on Google, insights from Google Consumer Surveys and top trending purchases on our same-day delivery service, Google Express.

Mobile shoppers are out in force
As smartphone shoppers hunt for deals during snackable moments throughout their day, this holiday season will likely be the most mobile ever. Shopping searches on Google coming from smartphones have increased 3.5x year over year and continue to grow.2 And we’re currently sending more mobile traffic to retailers per week from Google Shopping than we did during the peak of last holiday season.3

The smartphone has become the most powerful shopping assistant while consumers are out and about, helping us read customer reviews, watch product demos and find other retailers with product in stock nearby. So it’s no surprise that the top spending days in 2013 for in-store sales are also the days we saw the biggest spikes in shopping searches on mobile devices.4

This coming weekend, expect to see many of your fellow shoppers checking for deals on their smartphone while braving the lines and crowds at the mall. Nearly 50% of 25–34 year-olds use their phone to shop online while standing in line at a store.5 To help these shoppers research products more easily this holiday weekend, we rolled out new mobile features to Google Shopping such as 360-degree imagery and more detailed product information.

Top trending gifts of the season
To get a sense of the hottest gifts likely to sell out this season, we used Google Trends to identify the top trending toys, devices and apparel searches on Google Shopping.
  • Game consoles and tablets continue to be the top gifts trending on Google Shopping, but wearable technology such as the “fitbit” is also on the rise this month. 
  • Certain retro toys are making a comeback this season. Thanks to the new movie “Ouija,” searches for “Ouija boards” are up 300% since October. And queries for “Barbie Dream House” and “My Little Pony” are up as well compared to last month. 6
  • Cold-weather staples, such as “Hunter boots” and “Canada Goose jackets,” are among the most popular apparel searches, up 46% and 140%, respectively, since October. But “jogger pants” are the newcomer gift this season, up 39% from October. 7


Hunting for deals online
Shoppers are already prepping for Black Friday shopping by researching purchases and deals online. We found that 27% of shoppers have already begun hunting for Black Friday deals online.8



The top questions people are asking about Black Friday on Google Search are:
  • What time do stores open on Black Friday
  • What time does Black Friday start
  • When does Black Friday end
  • What to buy on Black Friday
Source: Google data, November 2014.

Beating the holiday rush with same-day delivery
We wanted to take the pulse of the people making purchases this weekend as they prepare for the Thanksgiving festivities. Here’s an overview of the top trending purchases on Google Express across locations.9

San Francisco: No gingerbread cookies here. San Franciscans are seeking a nutritious holiday with lots of bananas, avocado, coconut water and quinoa. And talk about eating clean: Disinfecting wipes are also among top shoppers’ searches.
  • West LA: The City of Angels is ready to party. Disposable silverware, plastic cups, paper plates, tortilla chips and garbage bags are all they need for hassle-free entertaining. 
  • Manhattan: New Yorkers start off the day right with cereal, almond milk and—why not?—butter croissants. After a long day, residents relax with snacks such as mini pretzels and almonds. 
  • Boston: Bring your appetite to Boston parties. Salty treats such as maple bacon chips, green pea crisps and peanuts top shopping lists. The city also buys more ketchup and popcorn than any other city. 
  • Chicago: Baby boom. Chicago households are stocking up for tots this winter with lots of baby wipes and goodies such as chocolate and sparkling juice. To ward off sniffles, Chicago is loading up on vitamin C and orange juice!
  • Washington, D.C.: The capital is stocking up on healthy bites such as whole wheat crackers, fruit snacks and diet soda to wash it down. 
To learn more about digital trends and how they’re affecting holiday shopping, visit ThinkwithGoogle.

Posted by Jenny Fernandez, Analytical Insights Marketing, Google


Sources:

1 Google Consumer Survey, November 2014, n=1100.
2 Google Data, November 2014.
3 Global Google Shopping Data, Week of 12/2-12/8 ‘13 compared to 11/1-11/7 ‘14.
4 MasterCard, SpendingPulse report, 2013 and Google Search data, November–December 2013.
5 Google Consumer Survey, November 2014, n=1100.
6 Google Trends, November 2014.
7 Google Trends, November 2014.
8 Google Consumer Survey, November 2014, n=1100.
9 Google Express data, last 90 days (only delivered orders counted).

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Want to get more impressions and clicks for your Shopping campaigns? Or want to know how to spot missed opportunities in your bidding strategy and find your mobile share of voice? We introduced competitive landscape data last year so you can start answering those burning questions, and today, we’re excited to announce a handful of additions that’ll help you find new ways to optimize your Shopping campaigns and engage shoppers on all devices.
  • Auction insights report lets you compare your Product Listing Ad (PLA) performance to other advertisers participating in the same auctions as you are. With impression share, overlap rate and outranking share, you’re able to see trends amongst your peers and strategic opportunities to improve your bidding strategies.
  • Search impression share has been revamped to be more useful and aligned with text ads. You can now analyze your share of voice at the granularity you want with Search impression share in the Dimensions tab. You’ll know which campaigns are limited by a low budget with Lost IS (budget) and which ones need further optimization with Lost IS (rank). Note that we now calculate Search impression share at account level so you may notice a change in impression share between October and November.
  • Device and time segmentation are available to help you refine your bid modifier strategy. You can see if your peers received more mobile impressions than you over the weekend with the Auction insights report segmented by device and day.
  • Bid simulator columns show you what your advertising results could’ve been had you set different bids. You can add these columns in your Product groups tab and, for example, find product groups that’ll drive the most incremental clicks.
  • Flattened view of your product groups presents another way to analyze your performance. It allows you to sort your product groups within an ad group based on performance data and easily identify which to optimize. For example, you can sort by impression share, find a few product groups with the lowest impression share, and fine-tune those bids within a matter of clicks.
We hope these additions will help you identify easy-wins for the holidays and unlock new, more actionable ways to optimize your Shopping campaigns. We’ll continue to explore other reporting needs so you have relevant and useful data at your fingertips. Visit our help center articles for more information on Auction insights, Search impression share, bid simulator columns, and the flattened product groups view.

Posted by Dimitris Meretakis, Product Manager, Google Shopping


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Research finds surprises about how smartphones and online information affect in-store shopping.

We've all heard the theories that people who do research online no longer care about the in-store experience … or don't even go to physical stores any more. Or that shoppers who use a smartphone in a store are looking to buy elsewhere.

Google decided to find out how much of this is true. We've just run a research study with Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands with the goal of discovering how smartphones and online information have changed the in-store experience.

The results, as they say, may surprise you. The full details are available at Think With Google. But here's a sneak peek at what we learned.

First, the study confirmed two things most of us have suspected:
  • Yes, today's consumers are better-informed than ever before. 
  • They crave information throughout the shopping process, and often use smartphones to get it.

But we also learned that three pieces of "common wisdom" were really more like myths:

Myth #1: Search results only send consumers to e-commerce sites.

The reality: The things people find in search results actually can send them to local stores. In fact, 3 in 4 people who said they found local information in search results helpful also said what they learned made them more likely to visit a store.

Myth #2: Once an in-store shopper starts looking at her smartphone, the store has lost her attention and her sale.

The reality: In-store smartphone moments are actually a good opportunity for brick-and-mortar stores to connect with shoppers and to help them make a decision. 46% of those shoppers say they look at the retailer's own site or app for information. Only 30% look up details from a different retailer’s web site or app.

Myth #3: With so much information available online, shoppers only go to stores to transact.

The reality: Shoppers actually want more, not less, out of their in-store experience. They want informed, customized experiences. 69% of shoppers said they gathered information from physical stores at some point in their shopping cycle. The catch is that 2 out of 3 shoppers said they didn't find all the info they wanted.

What does it all mean? Simply this: smartphones are a friend, not an enemy, to in-store shopping.

There are new opportunities for brands and stores to engage with customers in creative ways before, during, and after the customer’s shopping journey — one that may begin online and end up in-store. Search results, mobile ads, and mobile sites and apps can be magnets that draw consumers into stores and engage them while they're there. Smartphones and online information can also be a powerful way to create customized experiences for the consumer.

We discovered plenty of surprising insights in our study. See all the details at Think With Google » Plus, check out videos of Macy's, REI, and Sephora marketing execs sharing their approach for linking digital to store here.