Today Google announced that They are bringing free listings to the Google Shopping tab in the United States. And yes, this is only for the United States at this time. Google doesn’t charge any sites to be part of Google’s Search index, and they have decided to do the same thing for merchants selling on Google as well. Paid listings will continue to be a priority on ad slots and Google will operate those paid ads the same way they do today.
For your customers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Shopping tab. For you, the retailer, this means you can make your products discoverable in free listings by opting for your existing product feeds into the surfaces across Google program. These changes will take effect in the US before the end of April, and we aim to expand this globally before the end of the year. This is a big undertaking on Google’s part, and a big undertaking on your part as well.
If you already use Merchant Center and Shopping ads, and you’ve already opted into the surfaces across Google program, you might already be eligible to show your products in these unpaid experiences. This means that no further steps are necessary for you.
Opting-in is super easy, on Google’s side. There is more fo you to do on your site if you have never set up Google Merchant before. We will cover that shortly. If you have Google Merchant already, select “Growth” and then “Manage programs” in the left navigation menu and select the “surfaces across Google” program card. You can also add products to your product feed, to make even more products discoverable in free listings.
New Users to Google Merchant
For new users of Merchant Center who are interested in joining this program, it’s open to you today and does not require Google Ads. Google is working to streamline the onboarding process over the next few months. You can opt into surfaces across Google during the Merchant Center sign up process and start creating your product feed.
For your site, this means a lot of work to be able to get your listings in. Google really, really likes to see a GTIN attached to your products. This can be in the form of a registered UPC. If you need UPC’s for your products, you can get them here: https://www.gs1.org/. We recommend GS1 since that is where all UPC codes originate from. You can buy other UPC codes, and a lot of them are resold. This means that they are already registered to another company, and they own them. Once you have that, you can elect to input all the codes into Google Merchant manually, or you can use a plugin. We will cover WordPress plugins that are available in another post. Stay tuned for that.
Reporting for you
Business owners love reports. They love to see growth. They love to see numbers. Google understands that. Soon, you will be able to view your unpaid clicks in the new performance report for surfaces across Google in Merchant Center by selecting “Performance” and then “Dashboard” in the left navigation. While this option is not available as of yet, we expect it to be one of the first updates to happen.