Google debuts AI-powered shopping, integrates with Shopify

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Google has rolled out a new program for merchants to help them battle Amazon’s dominance by routing consumers’ product searches across various channels and devices into a single Google-hosted checkout.

Shopping Actions aims to streamline the process for consumers searching for items via or the voice-activated Google Assistant by concentrating purchases made on any device within a universal shopping cart for instant checkout, according to a Monday blog post by Surojit Chatterjee, director of product management for Google Shopping.

The new program uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing to suggest purchases, Chatterjee said. For example, Shopping Actions might show a consumer searching for a product via Google Assistant a related item from a participating retailer where a consumer with a linked Google account is already enrolled in that merchant’s rewards program, Google said. The service uses saved payment credentials to complete the purchase.

The service is distinct from Google’s AdWords program where merchants pay for items to surface in consumers’ searches. There’s no cost for merchants to list items through Shopping Actions, but when a sale takes place, Google gets an undisclosed cut of the revenue through a pay-per-sale model, according to Google.

Costco, Ulta Beauty and are among participating merchants, while Target has been testing the service since last year and is now expanding it nationwide, Google said. Shoppers will soon be able to link their Target and Google accounts, and later this year Target plans to enable customers using Shopping Actions to pay with the private-label Target RED card.

Separately, Shopify has announced it’s the first e-commerce platform to enable the recently renamed Google Pay.

Shopify merchants can enable Google Pay, which replaces Android Pay, with one click in their store settings, and consumers who previously stored their payment credentials on Chrome can check out on Shopify by clicking on Google Pay, according to Monday press release.

“By integrating with Google Pay, Shopify is making it even easier for merchants to deliver fast and simple checkout,” said Pali Bharat, Google's vice president of payments product management, in the release.

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