You may have noticed that Google has been upping its customer service ante lately with recent improvements to the online shopping experience — from support through fulfillment. The company has started featuring customer service phone numbers for major retailers in search results, and now it’s gone one step further by incorporating personalized delivery data for purchases you’ve made online into your search results.
Google announced the plans in August and sources the personalized information is sourced from a user’s Gmail, Google Calendar and Google+. Currently, there are five areas in which they are incorporating personalized results into search — flights, reservations, purchases, plans, and photos.
Since this went into effect, I’ve been keeping an eye on the purchase history integration in particular and its impact on providing a better experience for shoppers on the web. It’s important not only to consumers looking to track essential delivery information for online orders (Google uses the example of checking if your mom’s birthday present arrived on time), but also to retailers who can potentially cut down on the amount of order status-related inbound inquiries.
When logged into my Gmail account, a Google search for phrases including “my purchases” and “when will my package arrive?” served up my personal results on the first page of search results (again, only visible to a logged-in user).
For shoppers, the first step arrives in the form of a message on the right side of the results page that gives information on the new features: “You have info about a recent purchase in Gmail. Only you can see these results.“ After clicking the “Got it” button, a Gmail user then can see their delivery information above the knowledge panel or above organic search results but below Adwords.
Google’s been very clear that this data is only visible to you once you’ve logged in, which is reassuring to users who are concerned about privacy. Information is securely fetched using an encrypted connection, and users can turn the service off whenever they’d like.