Google is testing a feature to let consumers purchase products by clicking through advertisements, seeking to expand options for mobile retail sales, the company said.
The internet-search company's service, Purchases on Google, will let people using smartphones click on select search ads to visit retailer-branded product pages hosted by Google, according to an e-mail. The tools will work with a "limited number of retailers" for now, the company said on Wednesday.
Facing competition from Amazon, Google is investing in ways to attract shoppers and retailers to its mobile services as consumers increasingly use smartphones as they consider purchases. The news had been anticipated since this spring.
"Fewer people wait to head to the mall on Saturday to go shopping," the company said. "Thanks to smartphones, shopping now happens anytime and anywhere."
The company also announced an effort to alert smartphone users to information such as sales and loyalty programs at nearby stores, through its Google Now program. Google is expanding information on product ratings in ads and giving users more data on local inventory, as well.
The company will make it simpler for ads to drive consumers to shopping apps, rather than to retailer's websites. EBay and Flipkart, an e-commerce site based in India, are among the early partners in the initiative, which uses a technology called deep links.
~ Bloomberg News ~