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Google Is Coming After Amazon’s Marketplace Merchants

  • Search giant eliminates Google Shopping fees for sellers
  • Most Americans use Amazon, not Google to search for products
Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Google unveiled a major initiative to woo Inc. merchants on Thursday, part of a broader quest to be the main place people go when they want to buy something online.

The search giant said it will eliminate the fees it charges retailers to let people buy directly through the Google Shopping service. It’s the latest in a series of moves the company has made to make it easier and cheaper for retailers to get products in front of millions of people who use Google’s search engine every day.

Google is the world’s dominant search engine, but almost half of Americans start looking for things to buy on Amazon, while only 22% start on Google, according to a survey last year from research firm CivicScience.

Google Shopping has been around for years, but until recently retailers had to buy ads to list their products, and if people bought directly on Google the seller was on the hook for commissions of as much as 12% of the transaction. The company is nixing both these barriers, and has also started showing free product listings directly in the main search results.