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Could a Revamped Google Shopping Shake Up the Holiday Retail Wars?

Google Shopping has unveiled new browsing and buying options that make it even more convenient for shoppers to find what they covet, both online and in store.

According to Surojit Chatterjee, Google’s vice president of product management and shopping, the company rolled out new features last week that enable more personalized product browsing on desktop and mobile. Google makes product suggestions based on relevance to prior searches, and prompts users to reorder their most commonly bought items from online stores, nearby brick and mortars or directly from Google retailers.

A price-tracking tool serves users with notifications about price drops on items they’re looking to buy. For now, those notifications appear on users’ mobile devices, but Chatterjee said that in the coming weeks shoppers will have the option to receive price drop news via email as well.

To illustrate the feature’s utility, he recommended that shoppers turn on price tracking for the items on their holiday shopping lists as they begin to make those purchases over the coming weeks and months.

Google Shopping will now allow shoppers to filter their searches for nearby products in stores as well, for those who would rather see and experience certain items in person before buying. It’s also a good option for those looking for last-minute holiday gifts, who are unwilling to take a chance on shipping during the crazed shopping season.

Consumers can also purchase directly on-site through Google’s own partners. Though the option isn’t a new one, the company has been working to expand the breadth of its offerings, which now span thousands of retailers. Using saved information from their Google accounts, shoppers can check out quickly and skip the repetitive input of addresses and credit card information. Chatterjee said that the process also makes for easy returns and refunds, free from customer service hassles.

Finally, Google Shopping has committed to offsetting any carbon emitted during the shipping process, Chatterjee noted. For every metric ton of carbon dioxide that is produced through shipping product, the company will ensure that the same volume of emissions is removed through the purchase of carbon offsets.