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google shopping will let you sell for free

On April 21, Google made a big announcement: businesses can now list their products on Google Shopping for free. Chatting to our in-house Shopping expert, Matt Patterson, he told us what this update could mean for your business.

tell us more about the update

We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and many businesses are in a state of turmoil with their physical doors temporarily closing. In reaction to these challenges, Google has announced they will be making Google Shopping free for merchants, helping them get through these difficult times and continue selling.

what does this update mean for businesses?

eCommerce has become even more important for businesses and consumers right now. This update is a huge relief for many, offering a level of free digital exposure for businesses who can’t afford to advertise at scale for the time being.

The exposure is limited to the Shopping tab only on Google and if you want to get premium visibility on the search results page, you’ll still have to pay for the service. By premium spots, I mean the normal Google Shopping positions which sit above the search ads on the first page of the search results. These are in prime view for the user and the free services will not be eligible to trigger impressions in those key spots.

It’s a huge benefit for those retailers who’ve had to close their doors, serving as an opportunity for them to keep promoting and selling their products and services at no extra cost! If retailers are already using Google Shopping, there are minimal changes that need to be done to benefit from the update. Just some simple amends in Google Merchant Centre (GMC) and that’s all.

For businesses new to Google Shopping, getting set up with GMC and Google Ads will need to be done. All of Google’s requirements will still need to be met and merchants must have a product feed that ticks these standard requirements.

what does this update mean for paid Google Shopping ads?

In terms of what the update means for paid Google Shopping, well, that’s a difficult one to answer at the moment as we’re yet to see. However, from what we’ve been told, it will not have any impact on how we work with Google Shopping. The ‘premium’ spots on the SERPs will remain a paid service so nothing will change from that standpoint. What we are likely to see is smaller retailers who were previously not advertising taking up space on the Shopping tab.

what are your thoughts on the update?

Personally, I think it’s a good move from Google. We’re all facing troubling times, making it increasingly difficult not only for businesses, but for consumers too. By increasing the market for products available to buy online, it helps both sides. While this update is clearly to help with the impact of COVID-19 and help smaller businesses see this time through, it’s not the only reason.

I think the update is also to help Google compete with the likes of Amazon product search. Google has opened the platform up to a wider market yet still kept the option in place for those who want to pay to get the top spots and for more exposure.

As always, these changes will be rolled out in the US first by the end of April. It will then be made available to other countries by the end of the year, giving us a little more time to assess the overall impact. We’ll definitely be letting our eCommerce clients who advertise in the US know about this exciting new update.

This is a unique opportunity for advertisers who are already proficient in shopping campaigns to integrate their strategies further between paid and organic. Want to know more about what Google Shopping could do for your business? Get in touch with Matt and the team to see how we can help.

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