Google's pitch to retailers: We'll help you, from search to supply chain

As retailers at NRF flesh out digital strategies to keep Amazon at bay, Google is introducing new tools to help across their transformation.

Google Cloud is rolling out new tools this week to help retailers across all areas of its business, from product discovery improvements to supply chain optimization and hybrid application management. The new tools were debuted at the start of the National Retail Federation's annual conference, where retailers will be fleshing out their digital strategies to keep Amazon at bay.  

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian will be on hand at the conference to reach out directly to retailers up against Google's cloud competition. 

"Retailers that transform the fastest are the most successful," Kurian wrote in a blog post, where he referenced a number of large retailers working with Google Cloud. "We see this with retail leaders like Kohl's and Lowe's, who continue to innovate and reinvent themselves, and also with digital natives like Zulily and Stitch Fix, who have come up with entirely new ways to deliver great customer experiences."

Since Kurian made his debut as cloud chief last year, Google Cloud has taken an industry-focused sales approach, tailoring GCP's expertise to verticals such as health care, financial services, media and transportation. Retail is a natural fit for the company, given the industry's aversion to Amazon. 

Among the new offerings for retailers is a new tool called Google Cloud Search for Retail, which Google is piloting now and will introduce to the broader market throughout the year. The tool helps retailers improve search results for their own websites and mobile apps using cloud AI and Google Search algorithms.

Kurian's blog post also served as a reminder to retailers that they can buy Google Ads to surface their products when customers use Google's many consumer tools like Search, YouTube, Shopping, Google Assistant or Maps. 

Google also announced Google Cloud 1:1 Engagement for Retail, a set of best practices that can help retailers build data-driven strategies for personalized customer services. This should make it easier for customers to use Google's BigQuery data analytics platform to build personalization and recommendation models. 

The cloud provider also introduced a new Buy Optimization and Demand Forecasting service, which helps retailers plan inventory and manage supply chains. Carrefour, the large French grocery chain, is using the service to create more customized supply chains to bring specific products to specific stores. 

Google is also piloting a retail-specific version of Anthos, Google's platform for managing services on premise or in any cloud environment. Google Cloud Anthos for Retail will help retailers consistently deploy, configure, and manage applications across their fleet of stores at scale. It will roll out more broadly this year. New survey data released this week suggests retailers are increasingly looking for hybrid cloud options

Lastly, Google is offering more in-depth assistance for retailers. The company is expanding its Retail Acceleration Program (RAP) to a broader set of customers in 2020, helping them optimize their websites, build a unified view of customer data and drive foot traffic. Google is also expanding the availability of Customer Reliability Engineering, a white-glove service that helps retailers plan for peak shopping seasons.

cloud