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Free listings on Google Shopping

In a bid to maintain status as the ‘go-to’ online information resource, Google have recently announced they are stepping up their game to include free listings as well as paid listings on their Google Shopping platform.

As this advancement has only just been released and doesn’t go into action until the end of April for the USA, and worldwide in the next few weeks, we have answered a few of your potential questions based on our knowledge so far.

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What does this mean for e-commerce?

With the dramatic surge in shopping online, businesses who previously didn’t have the budget to use Google Shopping Ads can now utilise the platform completely free of charge. This can be done by uploading products through the Google Merchant Centre the same way it is usually done for paid advertisements.

What if I’m already running ads? 

There’s nothing you need to do at this stage. You can continue to run your shopping ads, and these will appear above and below the organic listings, in the same way as the search listings work. It will just enable you to get more for your current budget, as your products will be eligible for both organic and paid for listings.

If I’m not running ads what do I need to do? 

As this is something very new to Google, they have advised that they are streamlining the onboarding process, and to sign up to Google Merchant Centre in preparation. Once released, you will be able to upload your products for free. 

How can I upload my products? 

Currently, when you use the Google Merchant Centre as part of your PPC strategy, you upload your products in the form of a feed. This feed can be done via the following methods recommended by Google:

  • Google Sheets: You can insert all of your product data into a Google Sheet and upload this directly to the Google Merchant Centre.
  • Scheduled fetch: This would be through creating a dynamic file on your website server, such as an XML feed, that gets “fetched” on a daily basis (this works best for websites which have a lot of products being added, removed and updated on a regular basis.
  • Website crawl: Google are also able to crawl your website and upload products based on the Structured Data Mark-up that you have added.

All of the above ways are tasks we complete for our clients on a regular basis, so if this is something that you need assistance with, or would like to know more about, please let us know.

Will it be the same for the free listings?

As we aren’t 100% on how the new free listings will work, we are currently going on the data provided by Google themselves. They have stated that free listings will be uploaded to the Merchant Centre, so at this stage until we know more we believe they will be uploaded in the same method as the paid for ads. 

Are Google doing anything else? 

To add to this, Google have also announced a new partnership with PayPal to allow retailers to link their accounts directly with their listings to speed up the process of initial onboarding, and also to make it user friendly for customers. They have also released details on their website that explains that they are working closely with other digital commerce solutions, such as Shopify and WooCommerce, to expand their offering. 

What else do I need to know? 

This major shift is the biggest change Google have made to their Shopping platform since 2012, and it has been in development for a long time. The reasons behind launch were partially due to the current Covid19 situation, to help struggling digital retailers get their products found quicker and easier with minimal cost, and partially because e-commerce giants such as Amazon have long-ago stepped up their game, offering functionality such as ‘buy now’, skipping potential basket abandoners and allowing people to purchase right there on the spot.

This is exciting news right across the industry of retail and digital and we can’t wait to see how it plays out. Check back on our blog for any updates and if you have a burning question please send it over to [email protected].

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