Is Google Shopping free? Yes, it is now!
Previously, in order to list your inventory on Google’s Shopping platform, you had to pay. But Google just announced free Google Shopping listings! On the announcement made on the 21st of April, they said that these changes will take effect in the U.S before the end of April, and across the globe before the end of the year.
This means that you can have your products listed on the Google Shopping tab for free, with paid ads appearing at the top and bottom of this tab. Shopping ads will also still appear at the top of the search results page.
This announcement came amid the coronavirus crisis in which many retail businesses are struggling and are relying more heavily on their online marketplaces. Businesses are looking to make up for the losses from their physical stores through an increased digital presence and e-commerce sales.
Google stated that they are looking to help these businesses by offering them free exposure to millions of customers through the Google shopping platform. However, this isn’t just a temporary solution to help struggling businesses. Bill Ready, Google’s President of Commerce, stated that the virus just advanced the plans. This is a permanent move which fits into their long-term vision of becoming an online commerce giant.
The Reasons Behind the Move
These are truly unprecedented times and it has lead to businesses across the world struggling to make sales. People are surfing the web like they have never been before, spending more time online as they are forced to stay home. Therefore, this is a great opportunity for businesses to increase their digital presence. The tech giant is helping these businesses by offering free Google Shopping listings with the potential for exposure to millions of customers.
Previously, as you had to pay to appear in the Google Shopping results, it heavily restricted smaller merchants who couldn’t afford to be listed. This meant that the customers had a limited choice of mostly large retailers who could afford to keep their products listed.
With this change, shoppers will have more products to choose from more stores. Not only are merchants getting new, free exposure, but customers are also getting an increased variety of products, improving their experience.
Competition To Amazon
Amazon has become an e-commerce giant, offering an incredible array of choice. Limiting Google Shopping to only paying retailers has put them at a big disadvantage. This move encourages more merchants to use the platform, which in turn should attract more customers. Bill Ready claimed that this change fits into their long-term vision, which is to take over as the number one digital commerce company.
What This Means For Retailers
For retailers who are not currently on the Google shopping platform due to financial restrictions, this is a great opportunity to increase exposure. For merchants who are currently paying to be listed on Google Shopping, this budget can be redistributed in other channels or still used in Google Shopping. Advertisers can appear at the bottom and at the bottom of the Shopping search result page.
Like a combination of PPC and SEO leads to a successful digital strategy; combining Shopping ads and optimised product listings can lead to huge success on the Google Shopping platform. This presents a huge opportunity for retailers to have a whole new revenue channel for SEO.
With this move to free listings on Google Shopping, it opens up a whole new channel for smaller retailers. You can now compete against larger shops offering similar products without having to pay! Keep in mind the top spots with the most visibility are still paid for. But this doesn’t mean you can’t compete. Just ensure that all your product pages are fully optimsed and you’ve got another channel to sell your items.
How To Optimise
If you want to make the most of these Google Shopping free listings, you need to submit your inventory by uploading your product feed to Google Merchant Centre. Sellers must opt-in to “surfaces across Google” to be eligible for organic visibility.
It’s crucial that the product feed is set up correctly to ensure that the information pulled across is correct. Wrong info, like incorrect prices or out of stock items, will lead to very poor customer experience.
It’s also very important that your product pages are optimised to appear in the Google Shopping listings. Optimised product pages will ensure you appear in the results for relevant search terms through effective keyword targeting. Product page Shopping optimisation is now a whole new consideration for retail SEO.
Once the customer clicks on your listing and lands on your website, an optimised page with engaging and informative content which gives the user more information will attract them to purchase the product. By having informative content and prominent CTA’s, you can also improve the conversion rate of the page.
New PayPal Partnership
Google also announced on the blog that they will be starting their partnership with PayPal to allow merchants to link their accounts. Retailers will be able to link their PayPal accounts into Google Merchant Centre, allowing Google to pull in seller details faster and to verify trusted merchants, giving online retailers convenience and growing customer trust in the sellers.