Google Begins Flirting with E-Commerce with Its Trusted Stores Program

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Google Inc. is getting into the customer-service industry? It would appear so. The search giant may be trying to give Amazon a run for its money in the e-commerce industry. Google is introducing a new certification service called Google Trusted Stores that will help shoppers see which online merchants ship quickly and reliably and which ones offer the best customer service. Merchants that are testing the new service include Wayfair, Timbuk2 and Beau-coup. The feature was officially rolled out to all U.S. merchants this week.

So how does it work? Google offers up to $1,000 in what it calls “purchase protection” to shoppers who opt in to the program when making a purchase, according to Reuters. If you've joined the program and you're not getting the kind of service you expected from a merchant, you can engage with a dedicated customer service team that will be based in Google's Mountain Valley, California headquarters.

E-commerce experts say the move is unusual for Google, whose services are normally highly tech-oriented and automated, not “people-centered.” There are few, if any, other examples of such a hands-on, employee-centric approach to customer service, especially for consumer-facing businesses, noted Reuters.

Scot Wingo, CEO of online merchant solutions provider ChannelAdvisor, told Reuters that the new Trusted Stores program may be a step toward Google building a third-party merchant online marketplace to rival the success of Amazon.com.




Edited by Brooke Neuman
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