An Introduction To Google Shopping

Google shopping is growing quickly. Businesses are finding it useful to promote and sell their inventory, drive quality traffic and reach new customers.

What Is Google Shopping?

If you’ve not used Google Shopping as an advertiser, the chances are you’ll have at least seen them in Google. Effectively, Google shopping is a way for advertisers, sellers and manufacturers to reach consumers via ads based on their searches. So, if you search for ‘Red Mens Shoes’ you’ll likely see some shopping product listings at the top of the page:

mens blue loafers. Google shopping example.

Why did you see this? It’s because when you clicked search, there was an auction where Google worked out if your search was relevant to any Google Search or Shopping Ads and in real time worked out which ads were the best to show you. This process will have worked out what to show you by considering your search term and its relevance to all products and ads from advertisers.

Who can use Google Shopping?

Google shopping works well for many businesses, but in particular the types of business finding great success include retailers (both major and independent), specialist sellers, drop shippers and manufacturers looking to go direct to customer.

You don’t need to be a huge retail juggernaut to benefit from Google Shopping, there are options for local businesses looking to sell nationally (or even internationally) via the main feed, or tailored feeds based on shopping in your locality or catchment area. This is particularly useful for businesses offering in-house delivery services or items that are difficult to move via a traditional courier.

Google have a policy regarding what you can and can’t sell, so it is worth checking that your product is listable before you begin.

All you need to get started is detailed below.

How does Google Shopping work?

The first port of call is to submit the product information through data feeds to Google Merchant Centre. The data feed requires information such as size, colour, EAN etc. You can use a Google sheet or .XML file to make the uploading process easier to manage (especially if you have lots of products or product variants). For many merchants, this main shopping feed is enough to sell your product effectively.

Don’t fancy the hassle of setting up a whole new Google Shopping feed? No worries, the Merchant Centre has you covered with a fairly recent update that allows advertisers to manually input information about the products.

This can be an arduous task and if you have a lot of products it’s probably best to stick to a feed. However, if you have a fairly limited number of products to promote this can be an easier option.

adding products to google merchant centre manually

Different Types of Google Shopping Feeds

Google have created other feeds for more specific shopping requirements (selling locally for example). The other available feeds are:

  • Google Promotions Feed
  • Google Local Inventory Ads Feed
  • Product Ratings Feed
  • Google Manufacturer Centre Feed
  • Dynamic Remarketing Feed

You will need to create a Google Ads account to manage your shopping ads (times shown, locations displayed to etc).

Once you have your data feed in the Merchant Centre and your Adwords account, you’re ready to start (hopefully!) taking orders from an enthused consumer base.

Remember to always make items as appealing as possible by using high quality photos that show your product in its best (and most appealing!) light. Use clear, crisp descriptions and avoid industry specific jargon. If your customer does not understand your acronyms, jargon or is otherwise left feeling confused, they won’t make the purchase, or worse; they will buy from your competitor.

Google Promotions Feed

This is not the easiest feed to deal with as there many restrictions on what you can promote, how long it can be promoted for and what kind of promotion is being run. Google also have to check that your promotion meets its requirements before going live. 

In essence this feed allows special promotions to be temporarily listed (up to 6 months) to advertise discounts, free gifts etc.

Google Local Inventory Ads Feed

These feeds are design to drive custom to your store (a physical bricks and mortar store that is). They are useful for companies selling big ticket items locally who tend to need a sales person to explain the products carefully. A kitchen or bathroom retailer would be a good example.

Product Ratings Feed

Simply put, this feed enables customers to view product ratings to make their choice (we’ve all seen the Google 5 star rating system – this is where it can be used to help customers ask further questions, check out a retailers reputation and to make that final purchase decision).

If you are a manufacturer and seller then this can be used to great effect in conjunction with the Manufacturer Centre Feed and the Dynamic Remarketing Feed detailed below.

People are more likely to buy products with lots of high ratings, so if your product has lots of positive feedback this could be the feed for you.

Google Manufacturer Centre Feed

For the makers, the creators and the manufacturers.

This feed is a bit specialist as it works differently from the other feeds, in that it is not strictly a direct to customer feed. This type of feed allows manufacturers to make sure that product descriptions are accurate and standardised and that their products are being represented and marketed correctly. 

This feed type allows manufacturers to improve their online product placement presence via the Google Manufacturer Centre (You’ll need to create a Google Manufacturer Centre account). By using GTINs the manufacturer can ensure product consistency and accuracy so sellers and buyers can be sure of exactly what they are getting and that any regulation or safety legislation is properly accounted for (suitable for 3+ years etc)

There are restrictions applicable, such as a different feed per country and up to 20 different product feeds per country.

Dynamic Remarketing Feed

This feed type allows for remarketing at people who have viewed your product previously but didn’t buy at the point of sale – or even abandoned cart before finishing. This feed type is useful to act as a reminder that the product is still available. The consumer may have closed their browser in a hurry, been ‘window shopping’ waiting for an event (birthday, anniversary etc), waiting to save up or waiting for payday to come around. They may not be entirely convinced that the product is right for them, a gentle reminder or nudge in the form of dynamic remarketing could be what turns a ‘maybe’ into a ‘yes’.

To use this feed, simply ensure that your Adwords and Shopping accounts are linked and create a new Dynamic Remarketing Feed. It can take 2-3 days to be approved by Google.

Conclusion

Google Shopping is a great way to get instant results and quality traffic to your product. As your potential customer is already looking for your exact product you have many opportunities using the Feeds listed to sell, tweak your listing, and ensure that your product is properly represented and accurately portrayed. 

To learn more about the benefits of having your Google Shopping feed run by an expert agency contact us today. We’d be happy to assist in turning your product into a sold product.

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