You may remember way back in 2012 when Google Shopping used to be called Froogle and was a free to use service for businesses. Well ever since the rebrand to Google Shopping, businesses have only been able to show their products on the platform by paying to advertise through a Google Ads campaign. All this is set to change with a phased global rollout offering free Google Shopping listings for eligible businesses. While the rollout has already gone live in the USA, the global release will happen later this year. In this blog, we’ll look at what this means and how you can get your business ready to take advantage of these free listings.
What does it mean for your business?
Over the past 8 years if you wanted to have your products show up in Google Shopping then you have had to pay for the privilege with a Google Ads campaign. Google Shopping listings work extremely well for product-related searches that have a strong purchase intent. With product listings showing the item description, price, and retailer name the product listings present a great opportunity to get your products in front of potential customers who are ready to buy.
And, thanks to the addition of the free listings you will no longer have to stump up the money to show your products in Googles Shopping results.
How to get started
One of the advantages of Google Shopping is that listings aren’t limited to businesses that have an ecommerce store. Any retailer with products to sell can set up a Google Merchant Center account and have their items show up in the Google Shopping feed. Now is the time to get started by creating a Google Merchant Center account for your business.
Once this has been created, you’ll be able to upload your product feed, many ecommerce stores have plugins or extensions available which let you automate this process making stock management incredibly easy as this is handled by your existing ecommerce platform. For offline stores product feeds can be updated using good old-fashioned spreadsheets and submitted manually several times a day to help keep stock levels up to date.
To be eligible to start showing listings in organic results you will need to opt-in to “surfaces across Google” which will then automatically show your product listings in the new free listings when they become available in your region.
Where will these listings show up?
The main Google search page will still only show paid for Google Shopping adverts, but free listings will be shown on results under the Google Shopping tab. These free listings will also be shown in a special section called “Popular Products” which will help to boost the visibility of organic non-paid listings.
Paid shopping ads will appear at the top and bottom of the page under the shopping tab, much like the current sponsored listings section of the main search page. Search results pages under the shopping hub will also show the new free listings.
A great option for merchants who maybe have a smaller online store is to link your PayPal business account with your Google Merchant Center account. This with help to verify your business as a trusted merchant as well as allowing customers to make payment directly from Google’s search results pages. They are also adding more support and direct integrations with many ecommerce platforms to help make the setup and integration of product feeds simpler for online merchants.
Paid and free listings
One of the biggest advantages for many advertisers will be that they will now be able to focus on promoting their best-performing products that generate a high ROI through their paid listings while lower value items that have a much lower ROI can be added to their free listings. This offers an additional source of revenue which businesses won’t need to pay for helping to free up their budget to spend on the products that have proven to be worth promoting.
New products can be added as free listings initially to gauge performance before being added as paid listings if they have a positive return.
So, if you have a retail business and are looking for a great way to advertise your products for free, now is the time to get started with Google Shopping. While we could be a few months away from it being launched in the UK, if you act now then you will be in a great position to take advantage of the new free listings when they launch and get a jump on your competitors.