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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Online Payments: Google Checkout Is Here

The Google loop: "Online shoppers often start with a Google search.

Google search advertising program, AdWords, helps them find your online business through targeted text ads that appear beside Google search results.

From today you can add the Google Checkout badge cart to your AdWords ads, which highlights your store and tells potential customers that shopping with you will be convenient and secure."

Google_Checkout_logo2.gif

Not only.

For online publishers and content distributors Google Checkout is a checkout process that you integrate with your website, enabling your customers to buy from you quickly and securely, using a single username and password. You can use Checkout to charge your customers credit cards, process their orders, and to receive payments directly in your bank account.

Google Checkout helps you increase sales and process them for free when you advertise with Google.


Photo credit: Google Checkout Tour - (c) Google

If you, like me, are an independent online publisher, and are interested in using Google Checkout on your own site, here is what you have to do.


"Every online merchant has two goals: sell more and spend less. Google Checkout™ is a new way to process transactions that helps you achieve both. Checkout works with Google's search advertising program, AdWords, to increase your sales and minimize your expenses throughout the online sales and marketing process.

Shoppers who see the Google Checkout™ badge on your AdWords ads will more easily find you when they search."

The great incentive Google Checkout provides is that for every $1 you spend on AdWords, you can process $10 in sales for free. For sales that exceed this amount or if you don't use AdWords, you can process them at a low 2% and $0.20 per transaction.

On top of this it is only fair to acknowledge Google Checkout role in protecting publishers from online fraud. Google Checkout fraud prevention tools are in place to stop invalid orders from reaching you and their Payment Guarantee policy helps protect you from unreasonable chargebacks.


Photo credit: Google Checkout Tour for online publishers - (c) Google

Key benefits of Google Checkout

Lengthy checkout processes frustrate online shoppers who then frequently abandon their shopping carts. When your store accepts Google Checkout, your customers needn't be among them. The purchasing information of every Checkout user is stored in a single account, so they can buy from you by simply providing their username and password.

For every $1 you spend on AdWords, you can process $10 in sales for free through Google Checkout. For example, if you spent $1,000 on AdWords last month, this month you can process $10,000 in sales at no cost. The more you spend to promote your business through AdWords, the more you save on transaction processing fees with Google Checkout.

Google Checkout merchants can sell with complete confidence. Checkout proactively identifies and filters out fraudulent transactions, and under our Chargeback Resolution policy, Google evaluates all chargebacks you receive and, whenever possible, fights them on your behalf.

Some transactions are also covered by our Payment Guarantee policy: if you get a chargeback on an eligible transaction and give us all requested documentation and information within 10 days of the request, we'll reimburse you within a week. Learn more

Google_Checkout_credit_cards.gif

Google Checkout accepts major credit and debit cards, including VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Buyers enter their credit or debit card information when they first sign up for Google Checkout and can select their preferred payment type during checkout.



To set-up your Google Checkout account as an online publisher you will need to:

1. Sign up for Google Checkout: During the signup process, you can choose to link an AdWords account to Google Checkout to qualify for free transaction processing. You'll also be asked for your contact information, business profile, public business website URL for Google Checkout badge purposes, and customer support policies.

To do the above step you will also need:

* The federal tax ID number (or a credit card and an authorized Social Security number) for your business.

* A text-only version of your return, cancellation, and shipping policies.

* A shopping cart on your business website to accept online orders (unless you're integrating via Buy Now buttons).

2. Integrate your website with Google Checkout: Depending on your business needs, you can integrate with Google Checkout via Buy Now buttons, e-commerce partners, or the Google Checkout API.

You can use Google Checkout next to other payment solutions you are already offering on your site. There are no restrictions to this.

Regarding taxes: if you've performed a level one API integration, you can specify predefined tax tables (at the zip code or state level), that will be attached when you send your shopping cart to Google. (To learn more about level one API tax functionality, review 'Specifying Tax Information' in the Developer's Guide.)

If you've performed a level two API integration, you can specify customized tax rates, based on states, zip codes, municipalities, or other criteria, that will be systematically applied to orders in response to the shipping information provided by the buyer. According to Googlew, you're solely responsible for specifying your own tax rates. If you don't specify any tax information, Google Checkout will not apply any taxes to your orders.

For now, Google Checkout is available only to US publishers. I didn't find this information readily and discovered only two thirds through the account setup process.

More information on Google Checkout.

Google Checkout - Product Overview (PDF)



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Google Checkout Integrates Google Advertisers with a Universal Wallet

by John Blossom

While it's not the most amazing development in ecommerce - universal online "wallets" have come and gone through the years, after all - the new Google Checkout ecommerce capability is noteworthy for Googlish simplicity and universality that makes it a breeze to integrate.

Neither a PayPal substitute nor a shopping cart service per se, Google Checkout provides a person the ability to execute one-off purchases on the Web via any site that chooses to embed Google Checkout payment buttons into a Web page displaying an item for sale.

Click on a Google Checkout "Buy Now" button and you will get a one-click shopping experience that clears the payment and alerts the merchant of your purchase.

There is no fulfillment or shopping cart management: purchases are limited to single items, though there is the ability to define multiple price points and descriptions for a single item. You buy it, and you're out.

Google does have a network of popular shopping cart software vendors that have integrated Google Checkout buttons already with their software, so it is feasible to have some more sophisticated capabilities from the get-go.

The nifty part of the Google Checkout program is that it offers a slight discount to advertisers using the Google AdWords program and the option of a common administrative login, encouraging merchants to have a one-stop source to acquire and monetize online audiences.

Since Google Checkout integrates so easily with a Web site it's quite feasible to maintain existing ecommerce capabilities and drop in Google Checkout buttons in parallel, making it easy for users to get a trusted feeling coming in from a Google ad and a trusted feeling on the way out via their purchase capabilities.

The combination of the ad program and the checkout program makes for an instant distributed eBay competitor: Froogle, Google Base, standard search results, Google Books or Google Scholar is the shopping center, but via AdWords and the AdSense network or direct browsing consumers can bypass the shopping center altogether and go straight to the merchant - while still offering Google a piece of the action as a trusted neutral party.

This combination could be a powerful deterrent to the growth of the eBay ad network

It's too early to tell if Google Checkout will attain widespread use quickly, but one senses that Google's brand value as a neutral third party with fewer hidden agendas than other companies (we're talking perceptions here, mind you) and the lack of any localized software "hooks" via the service will encourage users and merchants to sign up.

The lack of sophisticated infrastructure in Google Checkout is rather a plus for most publishers, in that content purchasers can be encouraged to execute a purchase via a trusted financial venue while keeping the management of online subscription access and purchase fulfillment services undisturbed.

Google Checkout is not going to change the ecommerce strategies of publishers in a large way but it is yet another tool that can be used in both personal and professional settings to facilitate the acquisition of premium content sources on an "on the fly" basis simply and effectively.

Looks like GoogleZon may not have been necessary after all...

Robin Good and John Blossom - [ Read more ]
 
 
 
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posted by Robin Good on Thursday, June 29 2006, updated on Friday, February 26 2010


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