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Sep 06, 2023

Everything You Need to Know About the End of Buy on Google

Google is discontinuing its marketplace program, Buy on Google, impacting Shopify Plus merchants. Learn about the changes, alternative options, and more.

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Bye Buy on Google

Google will be discontinuing its marketplace program, Buy on Google, on September 26, 2023. This decision comes as part of Google’s effort to create a more streamlined buying experience for shoppers. While this may be disappointing news for sellers who have utilized Buy on Google as a platform to sell their products, alternative options are available for those who still wish to reach their target audience through Google’s platforms.  

Topics we will be discussing in this article include:

  • The end of Buy on Google
  • The reason behind the decision
  • Impact on sellers
  • Alternative options for sellers
  • Transitioning from Buy on Google
  • Looking ahead: Google’s commitment to retail partners

The End of Buy on Google

Buy on Google was a program that allowed sellers to directly sell their products on Google Search and the Shopping tab without any commission fees. It provided a convenient way for merchants to reach potential customers and helped increase sales. However, Google has decided to discontinue this program, citing a need to create a more efficient and user-friendly buying journey for shoppers. 

The Reason Behind the Decision

A Google spokesperson shed some light on the decision to sunset Buy on Google during the Google Marketing Live event in 2022

"Buy on Google was a small feature that a very limited number of merchants used, so we’re investing in this new buying experience instead.

Instead of a multi-step buying journey, people who are ready to buy will now have the option to go directly from Google to the checkout flow on your website. Once there, they will see the chosen product already in their shopping cart and can checkout on your site with whatever payment method they select. We will be piloting this experience on Google and YouTube with select merchants and will share more information as we’re ready to take on additional partners."

The discontinuation of Buy on Google appears to be part of a bigger picture - to better streamline the buying journey. However, there is speculation that “streamlining the process” isn’t the only reason for this decision. With soft digital advertising sales, it is speculated that Google is making more strategic choices to optimize its offerings and provide a better user experience.  

Impact on Sellers

For sellers relying on Buy on Google to sell their products, this announcement may come as a disappointment. After September 26, 2023, they will no longer have access to Buy on Google’s checkout features on Google Search and the Shopping tab. However, it’s important to note that Google will be emailing these sellers to inform them about the changes and provide them with alternative options. 

Alternative Options for Sellers

While the discontinuation of Buy on Google may pose challenges for sellers, there are alternative options available to continue selling products and reaching target audiences.

Buy on Google for YouTube

Buy on Google for YouTube, aka QVC for the digital generation. While Buy on Google for Search and the Shopping tab is ending, Buy on Google for YouTube will remain available for U.S. merchants that meet the Google Merchant Center requirements

This means that sellers who utilize YouTube as a platform can still take advantage of the Buy on Google feature to sell their products. This presents an interesting opportunity for sellers who have yet to explore YouTube as a marketing platform. 

Google's New Checkout Pilot

Google's New Checkout Pilot

In addition to Buy on Google for YouTube, Google has also introduced a new checkout pilot that aims to create a more streamlined buying journey for shoppers. This new checkout process allows shoppers to go directly from Google to the checkout flow on a merchant’s website when they’re ready to buy. Google has received positive feedback from merchants and users about this new buying experience. 

What to Expect from the Checkout Pilot

Google will be piloting this new checkout experience on Google and YouTube with select merchants. The goal is to provide a simplified and efficient process for shoppers, allowing them to seamlessly transition from browsing products to making a purchase. Once shoppers reach the merchant’s website, the chosen product will already be in their shopping cart, and they can proceed to checkout with their preferred payment method.

Benefits for Merchants

Merchants who participate in the new checkout pilot can expect several benefits. The streamlined checkout process can lead to an improvement in gross merchandise value (GMV), with merchants experiencing an increase of 1-10% (Source: Google Data, US, Retail, March 2023.) 

This presents a promising opportunity for sellers to enhance their sales and capitalize on the improved buying journey provided by Google. If you would like to express interest in Google’s new pilot program, you can do so by filling out this form

Transitioning from Buy on Google

For sellers who have been using Buy on Google and have to deal with its discontinuation, it’s essential to understand the steps to transition smoothly to alternative options. Google has provided clear instructions and support to assist sellers during this transition period. 

Terminating Participation in Buy on Google

Sellers have the option to terminate their participation in the Buy on Google program sooner than September if they believe it is more beneficial for their business. They can reach out to Google’s support team for assistance with this process. It’s important to note that no action is required from sellers to end the program, as it will automatically come to a close on September 26, 2023. 

Order Data Availability

If you use Buy on Google, one of your first thoughts might go to the data you have collected - and for any online seller, there is a real FOMO-D (Fear. Of. Missing. Order. Data.) In that area, there is some good news: Google has assured sellers that order data will be available for one year post-program ending. Sellers can access their reports and data following these instructions provided by Google. 

Looking Ahead: Google's Commitment to Retail Partners

While Buy on Google may be coming to an end, Google remains committed to supporting an open ecosystem and connecting shoppers directly with merchants. This continuation of Buy on Google is a strategic move aimed at improving the buying experience for shoppers and providing better opportunities for retailers to sell on Google and YouTube. 

Continued Engagement with Retail Partners

Google has emphasized that it will continue to introduce new ways to optimize how users navigate to checkout. This commitment extends to ongoing collaboration with retail partners through tools, insights and training. Retailers can expect Google to provide further updates and opportunities for partnership in the future. 

Final Thoughts

The announcement of Buy on Google’s discontinuation has implications for sellers who have utilized the platform to sell their products. However, Google’s introduction of alternative options, such as Buy on Google for YouTube and the new checkout pilot, presents new opportunities for sellers to continue reaching their target audience and driving sales. By adapting to these changes and leveraging Google’s platforms, sellers can navigate the evolving e-commerce landscape and thrive in the digital marketplace. 


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