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Google Shopping launched in Ireland in December 2016, after having established itself previously as a successful integrated ecommerce promotion platform in other regions around the world. It has become an invaluable tool for anyone involved in selling products online, and helps drive sales in a more engaging medium than ever before. In this post we’ll give you the rundown of everything you need to know about Google Shopping.
What is Google Shopping?
By using your powers of deductive reasoning we’re sure you may have figured out that Google Shopping has something to do with Google and Shopping. But what exactly is the platform?
Google Shopping was formed from the marriage of two separate Google services, AdWords and Merchant Centre. The Merchant Centre platform manages your inventory, product information and pricing, and images of your product. This allows Google to maintain an up-to-date database of what you have to offer.
On the other side of things the AdWords platform manages the bidding and placement of your products on the Google Shopping platform. The bidding process and some of the inner workings differ slightly from Search and Display Advertising, as instead of bidding and competing with keywords for search terms, you bid on products themselves. The platform automatically associates search terms with certain products, which makes our lives as advertisers a lot more simplified.
Who it is and isn’t for
First of all it is important to establish if Google Shopping is for your business. Typically shopping suits most businesses engaged in ecommerce, however Google does have a number of restricted and prohibited product categories that will not be permitted on their platform.
Businesses selling clothes, sports gear or stationery need not worry about any of their products being turned away from Google Shopping. However the likes of tickets, vehicles, property, services and currency to name a few, are all unsupported products in Google Shopping and can result in your account being suspended if added.
Additionally counterfeit goods, explosives, dangerous and illegal goods, offensive content amongst a few other categories are also prohibited from being displayed by Google Shopping
Setting it Up
In order to use these services you must first log in to the platform using your Google Account to set up and verify your website. Once you have set up the account and added some basic information about your business and the locales in which it operates you can start adding your inventory.
There are two methods of adding inventory to Google Shopping. The quick and easy method is to allow the Merchant Centre to crawl your site and automatically retrieve data about your product inventory. It is important to note that unless your content and product information is correctly marked up in the Schema.org Structured Data format, the Google crawler will not be able to properly retrieve the necessary product data. This method of adding your inventory is the easiest and helps keep Google’s records up to date with the latest information from your ecommerce site.
Alternatively, you can export a CSV file that is stored in your Google Drive and manually add your product information in the accepted format that Google requires. The Merchant Centre will have access to this file and will regularly access it and update the latest product information. In addition to adding products to this Google formatted sheet, you can also upload an exported file from your in-house POS or ecommerce systems directly to the Merchant Centre, and make changes using formatting and rules to ensure the data is compatible with the platform.
It is important to ensure that the information given to Google matches the information on your website, as any disparities in data such as prices being different can result in a suspension from Google.
How it Works
Once you have imported your inventory to the Merchant Centre you can start advertising your products to would-be customers. When people are searching for certain terms or specific products they may be served with the Google Shopping Widget which displays an image of the product you’ve provided, along with the title, price and name of the merchant. These Shopping ads appear alongside search results and can gain the attention of a customer who is towards the end of the sales funnel when it comes to making a purchase.
Google Shopping is a form of Pay Per Click advertising, and you only get charged for the ad if someone clicks on your advertisement. The bidding structure used in Google Shopping is similar to that AdWords Search and Display ads. We cannot simply set the prices and let it run automatically. We need to make adjustments based on competition, business goals, seasons, and ad performance. If you see that you are getting a lot of conversions you can make changes to your budgets and bids in order to improve sales and conversions.
Again similar to Search and Display, you can also target potential customers who are geographically close to your physical shop and use Google Shopping to help drive business into your store. Google has included a feature called Local Inventory Ads which combine ad extensions such as maps, phone numbers and addresses to the ads to encourage physical visits.
Benefits for Businesses and Retailers
The main benefit to using Google Shopping ads is that they are served to people that are searching for products with a high intent to purchase, in a more detailed format to traditional search ads. By adding an image, a price and some product information alongside search results you are giving your potential customer a lot of information to inform their purchasing decision. Recent data shows that Shopping Ads perform twice to three times better than standard text ads when used correctly, and are a lot easier to manage when working with large product inventories.
Benefits for Irish Sellers
One of the key benefits for Irish sellers engaged in ecommerce is that currently there are few retailers using Google Shopping to sell their products, however there are a large number of Irish consumers constantly searching for goods. There is a huge opportunity in the market to gain competitive edge and to drive more online sales. Irish people engaged in ecommerce spend on average €3,143 per year online according to Ecommerce Europe, which represents a huge opportunity for Irish SME’s and retailers to augment their sales through these new tools and platforms available to us.
Are you looking at driving more quality leads and turbocharging your Digital Marketing strategy? Then why not get in touch with our experienced team of strategists today and get on track towards blowing your sales out of the water.