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Right in time for the Back to School shopping season, Google is rolling out three new updates to its shopping tools for online retailers.

By creating new places for your products and promotions to be seen, highlighting your latest promotions, and adding deeper analytics for your online shop, the search giant is making it easier than ever for brands to connect with shoppers and helping shoppers find the products they want for the best price possible.

“Deals Related To Your Search”

Google is creating a dedicated section for products that are discounted or similarly low-priced when users browse products. 

New "Deals related to your search" feature for online retailers

Even better, being included in this section takes no additional work once your shop is set up in Google Merchant Center (which is required for online retailers to be included in any Google Shopping results).

Google chooses which products get included “based on factors such as the discount itself, how popular a product is, how popular the site is, and more,” according to the announcement.

The general “Discounts related to your search” section is already live within Google’s Shopping tab, but the search engine also announced an upcoming seasonal carousel that will show deals related to upcoming shopping events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

New Google Shopping seasonal promotions section for online retailers

New Ways to Customize Promotions

Google says its recent efforts to make it easier to create and manage promotions have received a warm welcome from online retailers, so the company is going even further to give shops the ability to target promotions to new customers and highlight active promotions.

The company describes its new ways to customize promotions:

  • To help you attract new customers with your best deals, you can now indicate if a promotion is only available to customers who haven’t previously bought from you. The title of the promotion could now say “10% off for new users”. While these promotions will still be shown to all, shoppers will only be able to access the promotional price if eligible (e.g. they are making a first-time purchase with the retailer). 
  • To help you reach more customers, you can now highlight your promotions on free listings on the Shopping tab. You can navigate to the promotions tab in Merchant Center to choose which promotions you want to be indexed through organic traffic and appear on free listings or, alternatively, supported with ad spend.

New Merchandise Insights For Online Retailers

Google is adding historical best seller data to its best sellers report to help shops predict upcoming seasonal trends based on how products have performed at similar times in the past. 

Google Shopping best sellers data for online retailers

Additionally, the best sellers report is receiving a new field called ‘relative demand’ which shows the relative demand for products in the same category and country along with recommendations for potential opportunities to stock new products. 

The company says these additions will help online retailers by making it easier to keep up with the changing demands of customers.

“You can use this information during peak sales periods, like Back to School, to explore what’s top of mind for shoppers and figure out how you can adjust your product assortment and campaigns to meet these needs.”

To access the best sellers report, online retailers just first opt into market insights in the Merchant Center.

If you are an online retailer, you are no doubt familiar with Google’s wide array of special features built for online shopping. You are also probably aware of how confusing it can be to get included in these unique search results.

To help clarify this process and make it easier to get your products highlighted in Google’s search results, the search engine recently revealed some technical tips and tricks for e-commerce sites. 

Why It Takes Extra Work To Get In Google Shopping Results

The first question most business owners or site managers might have when they start trying to get their products included in Google Shopping results is “why do I have to do all this extra work?”

Google’s whole thing is analyzing sites and automatically delivering that information in its search results, right? Why can’t they just pull your product info when your pages get indexed?

The simple answer is that Google knows online retail changes very quickly and shoppers get very frustrated with out of date or inaccurate information. If this became a frequent problem, users would likely stop paying attention to Google’s product-related search results. 

While the search engine regularly re-indexes updated webpages, it can’t guarantee pages will be indexed fast enough to ensure information is up-to-date for searchers. 

Additionally, there are some features which online retailers tend to provide to help shoppers which can make things a little confusing for search engines to understand. 

For example, Google says it still struggles with accurately telling the difference between these types of information:

  • Original Price vs. Discounted Price
  • Related Products vs. The Main Product Being Sold
  • Taxes or Shipping Costs vs. The Actual Product Price

This is why the search engine asks online retailers to help provide this information for Google Shopping results.

Now, let’s get into the advice from Google Developer Advocate Alan Kent and how you can get your products into Google product showcases.

Two Ways To Give Google Your Product Data

In the latest Lightning Talks video, Kent discusses two different ways site managers can get their product information to Google. 

The first method is by using structured data. This is essentially using special coding embedded into pages to provide Google with additional information typically not provided through regular site code or markup. 

This is generally seen as the advanced approach because it requires significant knowledge of coding and the latest structured data techniques. 

The other method covered by Kent is by directly providing product data through Google Merchant Center, which can be done with:

  • A feed of all product data manually submitted to the search engine.
  • An API developed to update products individually as changes are made on your site. 

For more information, check out the guide provided by Google.

Conclusion

While providing product data to search engines is essential for appearing in these specific product-centric search results, the company emphasizes that these practices don’t replace traditional SEO.

“Remember that SEO still matters for organic search. Make your product details, such as images and descriptions, appealing to your customers.”

If you want to watch the full explanation from Kent, it is available below:

Google is making several tweaks to its shopping-related search results to make it easier to find the products you want locally and choose the pickup method you are most comfortable with. 

As the country gradually returns to our normal in-store shopping habits, many are making adjustments to ensure the safest trips to the store. 

For example, Google says that searches for “curbside pickup” and “safe shopping” have increased tenfold over the past few months and remain heightened. 

Making this more difficult, many businesses remain closed after mandatory shutdowns have passed, while others are struggling with inventory due to shipping disruptions around the world. 

With all this in mind, Google has announced three significant updates to shopping search results which make it easier for shoppers to know who’s open, what’s in stock, and how they can most safely make a purchase. 

Filter By What’s Available Locally

When looking for a specific type of product, searchers can now limit their search results to only products available nearby. 

This can be done in two different ways. 

  • Users can tap on the “Nearby” filter when looking at results within the Shopping tab.
  • Users can add “near me” to product searches to automatically find products available nearby.

“Want to see an item in person before purchasing, or can’t wait for shipping and delivery?

Whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s a new laptop for working from home, a baby jacket for fall or a grill for backyard barbeques, Google makes it easy for you to see what’s available locally.”

Compare Local Hours, Locations, and Inventory

Making a trip to the store only to discover they are out of what you are looking for or the store is closed was already frustrating before the COVID-19, epidemic. 

To help solve this issue, Google is making it easier to compare the stock of local shops and see which businesses are open now. 

These details will be shown when searching “[product] near me” in a carousel of images and pricing details.

Find Convenient and Safe Pickup

Since the onset of the pandemic, Google has been prioritizing retailers who offer safe pickup options including contactless delivery or curbside pickup. 

Now, the company is introducing new ways to find safe purchase options with new labels in shopping searches. 

Along with these details, the listings will include a direct link to Maps directions so you can quickly and easily find the stores nearby. 

At the same time, Google emphasizes that calling to speak with someone is the most accurate way to check the inventory of products in real-time.

Google is dropping its commission fees for retailers selling their products using the Buy on Google platform.

The company announced the decision late last week, while also revealing that it would be adding integration for third-party services like Shopify and PayPal to make using the platform easier than ever. 

For now, the commission-free program is starting with a pilot test which will be expanded to all U.S. retailers by early 2021. 

Why It Matters

When paired with Google’s recent decision to include free product listings in search results, it is clear that the search engine is hoping to make it convenient and easy for businesses to transition to online sales. 

The decision also gives Google a leg up on many other online sales services, such as Amazon. The massive name in online shopping typically charges retailers between 8% to 15% in fees per item sold. 

With the ongoing wave of COVID-19 infections occurring across America, the removal of fees could open the door to an alternate revenue stream for many small businesses that are struggling at the moment. 

Focus on Small Businesses

Speaking of small businesses, Google will also be adding a filter to the Google Shopping tab which will allow shoppers to specifically buy from SMBs. 

“While we still have much work ahead of us, our goal is to make digital commerce more accessible for retailers of all sizes all around the world, giving consumers more choice and more ways to find the best products, stores, and prices,” Bill Ready, Google’s president of commerce, said in the announcement

After 8 years, Google is finally bringing organic, unpaid listings into its Shopping search results.

Starting next week, the Google Shopping tab “will consist primarily of free product listings.”

Google Shopping Organic Listings

This is a huge shift from how Google has treated the section in the past. Since 2012, the Shopping tab has been exclusively for paid product listing or ads.

The decision comes during the ongoing shutdown of many local businesses, driving consumers to online retail. In particular, Amazon has seen a massive surge in usage this month.

Although the company says it had plans to open the Shopping tab for organic listings before this, Google’s President of Commerce Bill Ready noted the ongoing crisis was a major motivation for “advancing our plans to make [Google Shopping] free for merchants.”

Importantly, the change is permanent and will not revert as businesses across the country begin to reopen.

“For retailers, this change means free exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs,” said Ready. “For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Google Shopping tab. For advertisers, this means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.”

What Happens To Paid Shopping Listings

With Google moving to make the Shopping tab more like its traditional search engine results pages, the company will begin treating paid shopping ads similarly to ads shown in other areas.

Paid shopping ads will primarily appear at the top and bottom of results pages in the Google Shopping tab. Additionally, carousels of product listing ads will continue to be only for paid ads.

How To Get Your Products Indexed

Google says the revamped shopping tab will continue to be powered by product data feeds provided through Google Merchant Center. Although GMC was once a paid service, the company opened the Merchant Center to all retailers for free more than a year ago, as it began to integrate organic product listings into search results across the platform.

To get your own products included in search results within the Google Shopping feed and elsewhere across Google, you’ll need to start a Google Merchant Center account and upload a product feed detailing the products you carry. Additionally, you must opt-in to “surfaces across Google” to be included in organic results.

For years, the only way to showcase your products within Google’s search results has been through paid shopping ad campaigns.

Though effective, these Shopping campaigns have grown increasingly competitive and more costly, despite more popular shopping sites like Amazon and Pinterest offering organic ways to promote your goods.

Now, Google is returning to its organic search roots with a new way to showcase clothes and other retail products in a specialized search results format for mobile users.

What Are Popular Products Listings?

 

The Popular Products section is designed to pull together relevant products for searches focused on shopping or retail.

As the company explains in the announcement:

“Starting today, you’ll begin to see clothes, shoes and accessories from across the web in one place on Search on your mobile device, so you can easily browse lots of different stores and brands at once.”

The search results in the section can also be further refined by style, department, and size, with each listing taking interested shoppers to a store’s website.

How To Get Your Products In The Popular Products Section

Though it takes a little bit of specialized work, the process of including your products is relatively easy for most website managers.

Firstly, retailers start the process by uploading their products into Google’s Merchant Center – a free tool available for all retailers. Additionally, you can increase the chances of your products being included by including structured markup data in your product listings.

As Google says:

“Just as we don’t charge sites to be part of the Google Search index, participating retailers appear in this new feature for free. Retailers can learn more about what types of products are eligible to appear in this shopping experience on Search.” 

Retailers are increasingly relying on Google Shopping Ads to promote their products and increase sales. In fact, some estimates suggest more than half of all retailer ad spend in the US is spent on Shopping Ads.

However, the increased popularity is making it harder than ever to compete within Google Shopping listings. With so much competition, how are you supposed to guarantee your products will show up for interested searchers?

Well London ad agency Cliqteq has some answers for you. With their helpful infographic, you can learn seven great ways to boost your Google Shopping performance and get even more attention with your ads:

SimilarItems

Google Image Search is making it easier for consumers to find the exact item they’re looking for with a new “Similar Items” suggestion area on searches from mobile devices. The company says the new feature will also help shoppers find new products that compliment one they were already looking for, opening an entirely new door for potential sales.

For the moment, the suggestions feature is limited to just handbags, sunglasses, and shoes. This is to allow Google to refine the feature and guarantee it is providing relevant results for searchers. Over the next few months, they aim to expand to include other apparel and potentially home & garden items.

img

”Using machine vision technology, the Similar items feature identifies products in lifestyle images and displays matching products to the user.”

In the same stroke, Google has also made the existing product results in image searches more useful for consumers by displaying price and availability information in results.

Including your products and services in the “Similar Items” feature requires adding Schema.org product metadata to the pages for every product you want to include. Theoretically, this would mean you could also exclude specific items from “Similar Items” results if desired.

The metadata markup tells Google the name, image, price, availability, & currency your business uses to include in search results. Once you’ve added the markup, it can take up to a week for Google to crawl your new data and add it to the search results.

If you’ve already implemented Schema metadata but your products aren’t showing up in the results, you may test your pages with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to check for errors that may be keeping your products out.

shopping-carts

Google is rolling out a new update to its Local Inventory Ads that let allows searchers to browse in-stock products when they search for a business. That means if a users searchers for your business, they could browse your inventory straight from Google.

So far, the new features are limited to a small number of retailers, such as Macy’s and Ikea. However, it is expected to continue spreading to businesses of all sizes in the coming months.

The update is not a surprise, as Google announced the expanded features utilizing their its Knowledge Graph and Google Maps back in May. However, it was first spotted this week by Nicolai Helling who captured a few screenshots of what it looks like out in the wild.

shopping-google-my-business-web-EN

With the new features, you’ll see a new line in the Knowledge Panel underneath your NAP (name, address, phone number) information which says: “Search items at this store”. You can also find this in Google Maps underneath the store’s hours.

If a user clicks on this, they’ll be taken to a page hosted by Google where you can refine exactly what item you are looking for. If they select a specific product, they will then be directed to a dedicated page product information as well as information about where to purchase the product online or in store.

To use the feature as it rolls out, you will need to be signed up for Google’s Local Inventory Ads program and be running ads with your products and inventory information.

 AdWords In Store Visits

Today, Google announced their highly anticipated ‘Buy’ button with the unveiling of the new “Purchases on Google” feature, along with several other big upgrades.

Select retailers running mobile ads can now choose to include a ‘Buy on Google’ option that takes shoppers to a branded product page hosted by Google. From there, shoppers can finalize their purchase and save purchasing information for future use if you choose.

According to Google, this feature is only in the experimental early stages and is being limited to a small number of retailers.

Retailers who choose to use Purchases on Google will only have to pay for clicks on the shopping ads to the product page. They will also have the option to invite customers to join their mailing list during the transaction.

While Google will take responsibility for hosting product pages and providing security throughout the sale, it will be up to retailers to provide customer communication.

Along with the announcement of Purchases on Google, the company introduced a few more new features for AdWords:

  • Swipe to Reveal: When a user swipes on a Google ad carousel will show more information about the products, including price and availability.
  • Ratings and Reviews: Shopping ads with product ratings and reviews will now be shown if searchers use specific trigger words, such as “best”, ”reviews”, “recommendations”, etc.
  • Priority for Local Inventory Ads: LIA’s will now receive priority for local intent shopping queries.
  • App Deep-Linking: Ads from select retailers will now include links to view a product on their app.Today, Google announced their highly anticipated ‘Buy’ button with the unveiling of the new “Purchases on Google” feature, along with several other big upgrades.