Search abandonment -- when a consumer searches for a product then leaves the site before clicking through the results -- is a costly problem for retailers. Today, Google Cloud is announcing a new tool aimed at the problem.

Built on Google's understanding of user intent and context, Google Cloud Retail Search provides retailers with Google-quality search on their own digital properties and websites.

To support the tool's introduction, Google commissioned the Harris Poll to conduct a survey of over 200 retail website managers and 10,000 global consumers who have used the search function on a retail website in the past six months. According to the query, search abandonment is costing retailers more than $300 billion annually in the U.S. A majority of website managers (88 percent) say abandoned searches are a problem at their company. Similarly, 94 percent of global consumers received irrelevant results while searching on a retailer's website in the last six months, and 85 percent say they view a brand differently after experiencing search difficulties. 

"Search abandonment is a costly, industry-wide issue, but for startup founders and small-business owners, it can be devastating," said Carrie Tharp, Google Cloud's vice-president of retail and consumer. "With Retail Search, we're able to help convert site traffic to sales and keep startups and small businesses from leaving money on the table."

Offering search tools in its API is a competitive factor for any cloud provider, such as Amazon Web Service Retail's ViSenze, an image recognition tool that shows alternative or complementary products to a customer's search on a website.

Google Cloud Retail Search was previously available in private preview, which means it was open for testing by retailers using Google Cloud. The cost to use Google Cloud varies on factors like storage and developer tools, but an estimate can be calculated with a pricing calculator on Google's website. Retailers will need to contact Google or reach out to their Google Cloud representative to enable retail search in their account.