Q&A: Google Payments looks to revamp the shopping journey online

Insider Intelligence spoke with Bill Ready, president of Commerce, Payments, and Next Billion Users (NBU) at Google. Ready leads Google’s commerce business, which includes Shopping, Travel, Payments, and NBU businesses. Prior to joining Google, Bill was PayPal’s COO, responsible for PayPal’s consumer, merchant, Braintree, Venmo, Paydiant, and Xoom businesses.

Insider Intelligence: How is Google helping retailers and merchants adopt payment products?

Bill Ready: We're building an open platform to support an open ecosystem. In shopping, we're not a retailer, and we have no aspirations to be a retailer. In payments, we're not a bank, and we have no aspiration to be a bank. But we can help retailers bring their value propositions to the user’s purchase journeys as they're figuring out where or what to buy. We're bringing a lot of things earlier in the journey into what has historically been part of the transaction completion.

Some tangible examples of that are loyalty and merchant offers. Historically, there was a payments function that would let you enter your user loyalty program to get extra points. It’s great if you find out about it at checkout, but as a user, is that going to influence you when you find it at the end of the journey? It's simply too late. Last year for the holiday shopping season, we launched the program for shoppers to see the links to loyalty programs at the start of their shopping journey.

II: What challenges do retailers and merchants have when implementing Google Payments?

BR: A lot of these finance options are from different players who are competing with one another. Thus, if you have one payment service provider managing your checkout, but you want payment buttons that they may not offer like buy now, pay later, you're starting to manage a lot of different competing products to try to put relevant things in front of the user.

We can play a unique role because we're not the payment service provider or bank, so that allows us to help the merchant surface more of these options so that it’s well integrated into their existing payment service provider without us having a direct stake. We're an open platform that all the merchants can work with.

II: What does the future of embedded financial services look like within the shopping journey?

BR: Financial services can be quite important throughout the shopping journey, so you'll see more of these things matter to users earlier in their shopping journey. Embedded finance is about meeting the user in the moment with the financial service that will solve a problem for them. It’s not just about easier access. That's a lot more than just the checkout experience.