I bought an iPad case online. It didn't arrive. I pinged an email to the site's customer services team. A replacement case would be put in the post, I was promised. It didn't arrive. I lodged a complaint with Google because the shop I bought from was registered as a Google Certified Shop. I'd not previously paid too much attention to this certification badge but now I was ready to give it a whirl.
A week later and consider me impressed. I received personalised service from Rebecca in the Google Certified Shop team, based in Ireland (I even got a hand-written card in the post); the iPad case turned up; and the retailer was all sweetness and light. This exemplary service means that the next time I'm choosing between online retailers I'll likely plump for the one with the Google Certified Shop logo next to it.
And if it works for retailers of iPad cases it could work for bike shops. Rather sweetly the promotional info on the Google Certified Shop programme features a fictional IBD, "Maria's Bike Shop".
The scheme has been available in the US since 2012 and was rolled out to the UK in 2013. It's a free service, for both retailers and customers but, of course, there's got to be a payback somewhere along the line and that would appear to be the amount of data that gets supplied to Google. Remember, "If you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product." This will be of concern to many businesses but, then again, users of Gmail, Chrome and Google Search itself are already supplying the US tech giant with oodles of personal info, info that gets fed back into Google's algorithms, and ultimately helps Google print money.
Consumers can benefit from receiving protection of up to £1000 for purchases.
Google promises that use of the badge will "increase confidence for new shoppers" and "improve sales on your site."
Retailers who sign up for the service need to integrate a bunch of code into their site. Google then evaluates the site for up to 30 days before the badge is granted. Is this for your shop? Only you can tell but in a world where Google is so dominant, and where consumers are so fickle, perhaps the privacy concerns will be trumped by the trust engendered by the Google Certified Shops badge?