Looking for online deals ahead of Prime Days? Google upgrades shopping search tools

Google is announcing some updates to its online shopping tools ahead of a summer sales season – and Amazon's Prime Day event.

Amazon has not yet announced when its Prime Day sales will occur, though they tend to be after the Fourth of July holiday.

Google is announcing upgrades to its online shopping tools, including ways to find the cheapest deals and the lowest price amongst retailers. The changes also come at a time when Google recently changed its algorithms, altering what general shopping content shows up on a Google search, including coupons for newspaper sites like USA TODAY.

Online shopping
Online shopping

Deals are important to consumers

The summer has "quickly become a major shopping season: In recent years, online searches for 'deals' have spiked in mid July, even surpassing search interest in 'vacation,'" Sean Scott, Google's vice president and general manager of Google Shopping said in a blog post. "And 44% of shoppers say that deal days prompt them to shop more than they normally would."

That's according to a new Google/Ipsos survey highlighting consumer sentiment.

Deals and bargains are big drivers for online shoppers, Google and Ipsos found in its recent study. Here are some highlights from the study:

  • Deals surpass travel searches: In the last two years in the U.S., search interest among consumers during the second full week of July for "deals" was higher than "vacation."

  • Lowest price is important: 67% of shoppers surveyed said it was very important to know they got the best deal available.

  • Checking prices: Sixty-eight percent of shoppers always or often compare prices when buying online.

  • Price transparency is important: 73% of respondents said they would be more likely to buy something if they knew whether that price was high, typical or low for that product.

  • A jump on the holidays: 51% of shoppers during deal days in 2023 said their biggest motivator was finding the product on sale while 20% said they were doing early holiday shopping.

Online shopping: Do you regret that last purchase via social media? You're certainly not alone.

Google needs to stay competitive

Google needs to continue to evolve to stay competitive, said David Schweidel, a professor of marketing at Emory University.

For years, Google was the primary way that consumers would find information, Schweidel said. Social media platforms and now AI-enabled tools have made it easier to search, he said.

"Google's responded to this, but we're going to see continued innovation from their competitors," he said.

Consumers are always going to be interested in a simpler way to shop online, Schweidel said.

"Imagine the kind of shopping experience that Apple or Amazon could deliver that makes use of the devices in their ecosystem, without requiring us to go through a web browser," he said. "Google's dominance as the gateway to information is being fundamentally challenged."

New tools from Google

Here are the newest updates from Google:

  • Updated deals destination: When you search "shop deals" on Google, you'll see a carousel showing deals from across retailers, Google said. You'll also see deals on categories you're interested in from a variety of stores, including direct-to-consumer brands, big-box stores and small boutiques. When you click on a particular item, you'll see a comparison of prices across retailers. You can also see product reviews, check availability and find delivery information.

  • Membership pricing: When available, shopping results will also show how much something regularly costs from a retailer, like Best Buy, but also the discounted price for members through loyalty programs.

  • Insights into pricing: A typical price range from retailers based on historical averages over the previous 90 days will be available, giving consumers the chance to see if the time is right for a purchase.

  • Track price drops: Shoppers can click a bell icon next to a product to track the price across retailers and get an email or push notification alert when the price goes down.

Betty Lin-Fisher is a consumer reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at blinfisher@USATODAY.com or follow her on X, Facebook or Instagram @blinfisher. Sign up for our free The Daily Money newsletter, which will include consumer news on Fridays,here.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Google updates shopping tools ahead of summer sales, Amazon Prime Day