Google has proven itself once again as an ally of small businesses during this crisis. The recent announcement regarding Google Shopping free results is sure to be welcomed by many small business owners. Keep reading to find out how this will work and when it will be available in the UK.
As much as the current situation brings some opportunities to businesses, it also presents very tough challenges. For small businesses, one of these challenges is creating relationships with consumers. For consumers, that challenge is finding the products they need online instead of at the shops they normally frequent.
With this in mind, on April 21st, Google announced they were developing a tool to let online merchants display their products in Google Shopping for free.
“With hundreds of millions of shopping searches on Google each day, we know that many retailers have the items people need in stock and ready to ship, but are less discoverable online.”
-Bill Ready, President of Commerce at Google
With that said, by the end of April, Google’s Shopping tab search results will primarily consist of free listings… in the U.S. (more on that below).
These listings will help online stores display their products for free to millions of internet users. Hopefully, this helps small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic.
Through product listings, consumers will have access to more stores and thus find the products they are looking for faster and more efficiently.
To give you an idea, this new function will look like the following:
Any business will be able to make use of the free listings regardless of whether or not they are advertising on Google currently. For those shop owners who do invest in Google Ads, they will still have the possibility to continue running ads that will strengthen and/or complement their free listings.
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As you may have noticed in the image above, product ads will continue to appear at the top under the "Ads" section and will continue to function in the same way as they have been up to now.
This function will be implemented at the end of April in the United States and globally before the end of this year. Stay tuned for any announcements specific to the UK!
According to the Google Merchant Center Help page, if you’re an existing user of Merchant Center and Shopping ads and you’ve already opted into the “Surfaces across Google” program, you might actually already be eligible to show your products in these unpaid experiences, and no further steps are necessary to participate (once available in your market).
In order to opt in, you’ll have to select “Growth” and then “Manage programs” in the left navigation menu and select the “Surfaces across Google” program card. From there, you can add products to your product feed to make even more of your products discoverable in these free listings.
If you’ve never advertised on Google Shopping before, it’s no problem. The program is still open and available today. Remember that you don’t need to use Google Ads in order to sign up with the Merchant Center.
Therefore, you should go ahead and create an account now, opt into the “Surfaces across Google” program, and upload your product listing there. Therefore, when the time comes, your shop will be ready!
With that announcement, Google also added that soon you’ll be able to see the performance of those unpaid clicks with a performance report for “Surfaces across Google” in the Merchant Center.
Google also mentioned that they kicked off a new partnership with PayPal in order to allow merchants to link their accounts and thus, speed up the onboarding process.
Google will also be working hard with their existing partners to make digital commerce more accessible to businesses small and large. This includes e-commerce platforms companies like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.
Although it may take some time to reach the UK, Google is doing what they can to help small businesses stay afloat and perhaps even strengthen their business during the pandemic. Whether you plan to use Google Shopping or not, it definitely makes sense to set up a Merchant Center account now, so your business will be ready when the time comes.
If you're not completely new to Google Shopping, perhaps you'll find our whitepaper, "Google Shopping II: Optimisation", helpful!
This article was originally written for our Spanish blog: ¡Vender en Google Shopping es ahora gratis!