Google Targets B2B with Shopping for Suppliers

Google Shopping for Suppliers is a new foray by the search giant into the B2B sourcing world. The beta version was rolled out two weeks ago, and is currently only open to electrical and electronics industries with no word on which industries are to be added next. The platform has been built to accommodate the unique aspects of online B2B selling that until this announcement has not been a significant target for Google and it’s online shopping tools.

B2B purchasing interactions have been slower to migrate to the online ecommerce space; unlike most B2C transactions, suppliers and purchasers negotiate on many aspects before completing the sale. Volume discounts, after sales support and LTL freight rates can all be part of the negotiation. LTL Trucking Logistics companies can provide base rates for the products being advertised for shipments between trade regions but there are many variables that can change the price of a shipment. For this reason, Google allows buyers and sellers to connect directly as part of this program. Similarly, Google’s standard B2C Shopping policies ( Pricing and Payments, Shipping, Taxes and Returns) have been modified for the Google Shopping for Suppliers program.

The google website outlines the following information as a requirement for verification (they also indicate that they will perform “checks” of some company credit information):

  1. Business registration or license
  2. Articles of Incorporation (or Articles of Organization for LLCs)
  3. A letter of authorization issued by a publicly listed official of your company (such as CEO, COO, or member of the board). You don't need to provide this document if you are a publicly listed official.
  4. If your company is private: Your corporate filing with the Secretary of State.
  5. This is used to get the full names of the CEO and majority shareholders when your company is private and we cannot get the information from other sources.

Acceptance into the verified program gives your company:

  • an “eye-catching” badge on your listings
  • search results that appear above those from unverified suppliers
  • more visibility in the Sponsored results section on Google.
  • a customizable profile with the ability to add key information important to buyers
  • a contact form for to allow potential buyers to request information

The initial revenue model looks to be tied to the signup process where suppliers must pay a one-time verification fee of $1000.

It is unclear at this point how or when products from Verified Suppliers will appear in the ad results on Google. The program is in its infancy and is currently labeled as beta so much may change but Search Engine Land has so far confirmed that Verified Suppliers listings appear to be heavily weighted to show above unverified suppliers, even when the products are less (or not at all) relevant to the search query.

The documentation on the Google Verified Supplier program includes a link to apply to participate in the beta. Overall Google seems to be taking more of an organizational role at this point, creating the marketplace to bring vendors and purchasers together by letting the spotlight shine on those companies that have been “verified”. Aside for the obvious intentions of connecting buyers and sellers, and the not so obvious intention of amassing intel on many different companies with detail about who they could potentially do business with) this service may also provide another benefit to companies in the B2B space. The “verified” status could become another standard to use when reviewing whether to extend credit to a new customer. Are you a Google Verified Supplier? Would you want to be one?

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