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Tech Players Move to Promote Black-Owned Businesses

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As the world celebrates Black History month, tech companies are showing their support with various shopping-related features. Earlier on Monday, Google revealed they're extending their black-owned attribute to their shopping tab to help consumers find and patronize local businesses. The owners can start adding the attribute on the Google Merchant Help Center, with the available feature in the U.S in the coming months.

Google's move comes as a natural extension of a feature released last summer in maps and search. The company is now taking a retail angle, figuring it can help bolster direct commerce for relevant businesses. According to their brand marketing director Attica Jaques, the search interest for black-owned businesses increased by 600% in the last 12 months, as shown by Google Trends data.

According to a Google Blog post, Jacques revealed that people have been looking for black-owned restaurants, bookstores, and beauty suppliers across the country. As such, Google is planning to make it easier for customers to support these businesses by spending their dollars.

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The change aligns with Google's stipulated goal with shopping, as the company's main mission is to democratize online retail business for merchants of all sizes. Google Shopping underwent several changes over the last year, with merchants allowed to offer their products for free and without charging any commission for the online check-out through "Buy on Google." Google also unveiled changes geared towards helping customers locate new stores and check the prices.

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The massive rise in interest to support black-owned businesses isn't limited to only Google. According to Yelp, there were unprecedented searches for Black-owned businesses, resulting in a 2400% increase in 2020 compared to 2019. Review mentions also went up by 232% over the same period.

Yelp is also celebrating black history month alongside Google. This review site and online directory for local businesses are marking the occasion by curating a list of businesses owned by black people worth watching in 2021. Their roster includes popular and high-rated black-owned businesses across the home, beauty, restaurants, and food categories.

Instagram and Facebook will double down on the leading company's Buy Black Friday campaign, which attracted over 15 million views last year. This year, the campaign will aim to boost black businesses' visibility through the Buy Black initiative on Instagram and Facebook shops. Instagram's @Shop account will also promote black brands.

Tech giant Apple is also marking the month through retail but in a different way. Apple has already revealed they're releasing the Black Unity Collection for Apple Watch, designed to acknowledge and celebrate Black culture and Black history. The tech giant also plans to include the Apple Watch Series 6 in the Black Unity Collection with a new Unity face.

According to Apple, their effort will come in handy in support of six groups, including the BLM Support Fund through the Tides Foundation, International Institute on Race, European Network Against Racism, and Education Fund Inc.   However, it was unclear the number of proceeds that will be directed to the organization.

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