Feature image: Plastic versus glass versus aluminum use in carbonated drinks.  This visual and additional content about it is contained in the Visual Dataset.

Platform Updates Summary

The recent move to allowing companies to list products for free on Google shopping is significant. A substantial pain is discoverability of new products, especially in the early-stage and lower-middle market (0-$50 MM), in context of the following:

  • Bottlenecks. Selling retail/bricks and mortar is a bottleneck because of limited shelf-space and retail doors, which will never change. Many small brands will never able able to get there because of their size.
  • Silos. Online search is still siloed among competing platforms, like Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc.
  • Friction. The bottlenecks and silos just create friction between small brands being found and consumers discovering them.

What is really needed to help small emerging consumer product brands connect with consumers, who generally want to buy from small local companies, is a way to connect them online. Opening up Google Shopping for free may be a big step towards alleviating this problem.

The above pain I describe is U.S-centric, but really a global problem. If there is a seller in any village or town and a buyer looking for the same products only 5 miles away, they might never know about each other, but if connected through a non siloed online global platform, that dynamic could change with significant upside not just for the seller and buyer, but local economies.

When we also consider the fragility of global supply chains that has been revealed with COVID-19, anything that promotes hyperlocal manufacturing and transactions will help make our society and economies more resilient.

I think Google, through Google Shopping, is the only one positioned globally to help solve these problems. Consider also that only half of the global population is online at present. As the rest come online over the next decade, connecting all these new sellers and buyers through a unified search platform would be significant.

So as a small brand, look to get your products listed on Google Shopping ASAP.

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