Google lends name to its trusted online merchants

The search giant wants to expand its merchant approval program to any U.S. businesses worthy of Google's stamp of approval. It's all a part of the company's new shopping experience.


Google is opening up its Google Trusted Stores program -- which comes with the company's backing and an optional satisfaction guarantee for customers -- to any U.S merchant, the search giant turned marketplace announced today.

Then program, which gives out badges and customer service scorecards to merchants, lets Google assure customers that when they shop online, Google's got their back.

"We help customers feel confident, knowing that they're going to be having a great experience and knowing that Google stands behind them if anything goes wrong," said Tom Fallows, Google Shopping's group product manager.

The program is part of Google's bigger plan for increasing its shopping service footprint. It's been tested on a few merchants for the last 9 months, and Google is boasting increased sales. Fallows said customers who saw the store badges were more likely to make a purchase and when they made a purchase, they made a larger purchase. One store saw an 8.6 percent increase.

Wayfair, an online home furnishings store and a merchant using Google's product listing and ad service, saw a 2.3 percent improvement after displaying the Google badge.

"There are a lot of different badging programs and opportunities out there," said Ed Macri, VP of marketing and business intelligence at Wayfair. "We haven't seen much success with anything. What was different about this is having the Google name."

Macri said the company recently consolidated 200 online shopping sites under the Wayfair name and is trying to build its brand awareness.

"We're just excited to have more people experience the Wayfair brand, because when they do, they love it and they keep coming back," Macri said.

If shoppers hold a mouse over the Google badge displayed on the merchant's site, Google's score card pops up with stats on how long shipments past shipments took and how often Google had to step in to help customers. The company has Mountain View-based team that will provide customer service if shoppers can't resolve the issue with the merchant, or is more comfortable going to Google.

If shoppers make a purchase, they can opt for Google purchase protection, which covers up to $1,000 per customer for all purchases (If you opt in, the merchant will share your order information and email address with Google). Fallows said the $1,000 limit will most likely increase in the future.