Attention E-commerce Sites: Google's "Trusted Store" Badge Has Entered the Playing Field

By October 7, 2011 SEO No Comments

Google recently launched a new feature aimed at helping customers find the most high-quality ecommerce sites that offer the best shopping experiences: Google Trusted Stores.

The program is still in the pilot stages now with only a few merchants participating (O.co, Wayfair, BabyAge.com and Beach Audio), but those who are interested in getting involved as it expands can sign up online to try their chances.

So what exactly is this new program supposed to accomplish?

  • The goal of Google Trusted Stores is to help online buyers shop with more confidence and complete their purchases with greater ease. It’s also a way for online stores to let potential customers know that their site is a great place to shop.
  • Merchants who meet the standards Google has established will be allowed to display a badge on their websites that attests to their ability to serve customers well.

What kind of information will the badge display?

  • The badge allows customers to see the store’s track record for both shipping and customer service performance. In order to continue displaying the badge once it’s earned, merchants have to ship a high percentage of orders within the guaranteed time, maintain a low average shipping time and meet customer service standards. No specific numbers have been given in regards to these metrics, but that will come in time.

Wait, there’s more?

  • Sure is. Customers who shop at stores that have earned the badge also have the option of selecting free purchase protection from Google for up to $1,000. If a problem arises, Google will work with the merchant on behalf of the customer to address the issue. It’s not a product warranty, endorsement or form of insurance, but it’s still Google sticking its neck out there for the stores that earn this badge.

So what does a store have to do to get Google to award this new badge? Well, in standard Google style, the full details are not being released, but here’s what we do know:

  • Participating sites have to share shipment data and allow Google to collect customer service metrics when shoppers seek help with a purchase problem.
  • Google has not released exact metrics for how high a store’s shipping and customer service rates must be to earn a badge.
  • The badge will display a grade for “reliable shipping” and “excellent service” and will show specific numbers and percentages to justify that grade
  • Google will be expanding the program over the coming months and is currently accepting applications from any online store

Based off that information, here’s what we’re assuming:

  • Google will probably want a good amount of data before they are willing to award a badge, which means smaller stores may have trouble earning one.
  • If Google is sticking out its neck to offer the $1,000 purchase protection, there’s a good chance it is going to be difficult to earn a badge. The company isn’t going to risk its reputation on stores it isn’t confident in.
  • This program has the potential to make a pretty big impact in the world of ecommerce. If online shoppers begin giving a lot of credibility to the Trusted Stores badge, stores that are unable to earn it could have trouble attracting new business and inspiring consumer confidence.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As with all new programs and features released by the search engine giant, only time will tell how great of an impact it will have, and whether or not it will really be the next game-changer.

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About Abigail Birmingham

Abigail Birmingham is a Creative Leader for Fathom's education team specializing in video production, creative design, and content strategy. She is passionate about helping clients tell a great story and engage with their audience. She is a strong believer in the power of captivating and creative content as a driving force in an effective marketing strategy.

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