How To Use the Google Shopping Platform for Your E-commerce Business


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Kate is looking for the perfect gown for a ball she’s attending in a few weeks. Like 40% of digital shoppers, she does a quick Google search to help her find a royal blue gown.

At the top of the search results, Kate sees many product listings for royal blue gowns. She’s not loyal to a specific fashion brand. All she wants is a quick way to search for a new gown across multiple retailers.

Enter Google Shopping. When Kate searches for “royal blue gown,” Google pulls up lots of sites, including the sponsored Google Shopping results.

So, she clicks on the result that best matches her search query. She can also filter the results by size, fabric, price point, and more.

In 2019, 49% of online shoppers like Kate said they use Google for product searches. So it’s no surprise that the internet giant opened up Google Shopping to free listings the following year.

If you want more traffic and sales, get Google Shopping for your online store.

Not sure how to set it up? This guide shares:

  • What the Google Shopping platform is about
  • How you can use Google Shopping for your e-commerce business
  • The benefits of using Google Shopping

What Is the Google Shopping Platform?

Originally known as Froogle, Google Shopping is a powerful, fast, and comprehensive service that makes it easier for users to find and buy things.

The platform hosts products from a wide variety of online vendors, offering comparisons between their listings on particular items so that consumers can pick the best item at the best price.

Google Shopping features items as thumbnail images that display the product, the shop it’s coming from, and price.

Royal blue gown Google Search.
Source: Google Search

Technically, Google Shopping isn’t an online marketplace. But it’s almost like a digital mall where shoppers can go in, find what they need, and discover many other products and brands on one screen.

survey by Mirakl found consumers prefer online marketplace formats for greater convenience, variety, and value. So, it makes sense to add Google Shopping to your e-commerce marketing repertoire.

Google shopping helps you boost your traffic by showing relevant ads to people who are searching for what you sell. This increases your chances of getting leads and sales. Plus, it’s one of the best SEO strategies for e-commerce businesses.

Ben Rollins, a cofounder of Axon Optics, says: “We use Google Shopping ‌to capture ready buyers who are comparing and searching for migraine glasses to purchase. Google Shopping benefits customers who are already looking to buy migraine [products] and want to compare brands or prices to get the best deal. They don’t have to click into multiple websites and can compare products on a single screen. On our end, Google Shopping has generated a high ROAS [return on ad spend] for us because users are already ready to buy. Traffic volumes from Shopping aren’t as scalable as we would like, but we also have top-of-funnel and mid-of-funnel strategies to ensure we maintain consistent sales from bottom-of-funnel channels, such as Google Shopping.”

Are you ready to use Google Shopping for your e-commerce business? Follow our step-by-step guide below to set up your account.

How To Use Google Shopping

Similar to how a blog site owner would optimize their webpages for SEO, you can take some steps to set up and improve your return on Google Shopping.

Before you can start using the platform, you’ll need to set up a Google Merchant account, optimize your listings, and create a campaign.

Create Your Google Merchant Center Account

1. You need a Google Account to sign up.

Google Merchant Center account with a "We're sorry" message.

2. Next, enter details about your business.

Form to enter business information in Google Merchant account center.

3. Choose where you want your customers to check out (on Google, your website, or local store).

Options to select where customers check out.

4. Select any other tools you work with like third-party platforms to show, promote, or sell your products across Google to get better services to your linked platform.

Select tools you want to use, including Shopify, PayPal, WooCommerce, GoDaddy, PrestaShop, and BigCommerce.

5. Choose your email preferences.

Google Merchant Center email preferences.

6. Read and accept Google Merchant Center’s Terms of Service, then select Create Account.

Google Merchant Center terms of service.

7. On the next screen, you’ll get a notification that your Google Merchant Center account has been created. Select Later to get set up and running completely.

Google Merchant Center account created confirmation.

Set Up Free Product Listings

Once your account is set up, you need to:

1. Add your business information ― address, city, state, and postal/ZIP code ― and verify your phone number.

Add business information to Google Merchant account.

2. Verify and claim your website.

Verify and claim website with Google Merchant account.

3. Set up shipping.

Form to setup shipping.

4. Set up sales tax.

Sales tax setup form.

5. Select how you want to add products.

Selection for how to add products.

6. View Google policies on refunds and return policies, products you can and can’t show, and more.

Information on how to create and add a refund and return policy on your website.

Once you complete all the steps that apply to you, Google reviews your product data to ensure that it meets the company’s specifications. From here, you’ll click Activate to complete the setup.

Optimize Product Images

Google uses uploaded product feeds to index your product images. But it pulls images from your website to display featured images and gives a highly visual experience to online shoppers.

However, Google provides image guidelines for merchants to adhere to when designing images before they can permit your Google Shopping campaigns.

Add Product Feed Data

Next, upload a complete product inventory so that Google can showcase your products to the right buyers.

  • Go to Products tab > Feeds menu and select the blue + (plus) icon
  • Enter information about your business, such as country and language
  • Name your feed and choose the right product data specification method for your product data feed, which ensures Google displays beautiful ads for your products

Link Your Google Ads Account

Linking your Merchant Center account with your Google Ads account allows you to request Google to show your product ads.

  • Sign in to your Google Merchant Center account
  • Select Account Linking
  • Click Link Account ― if you don’t have a Google Ads account, click Create Account ― and enter your Google Ads ID

Create a Google Shopping Campaign

Shopping Campaign Illustration.
Source: Google Ads Help

With your Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts linked, you’re now ready to set up and run Google Shopping campaigns. Campaigns give users detailed information about your products even before they click your ad and allow you to track product performance‌.

  • Log in to your Google Ads account
  • Select Campaigns in the left menu
  • Select the + (plus) button and click New Campaign
  • Choose a campaign goal, select Shopping for the campaign type, then select Next
  • Choose your advertising preferences with details like your campaign name, country of sale, merchant, bidding, daily budget, inventory filters, campaign priority, network, devices, location, and location inventory ads
  • Create your first ad group by entering the ad group name and the bid that are applied to the first product group in the ad group (you can change the product group bid after creating your campaign).

Just like that, you’ve set up your first Google Shopping campaign.

Benefits of Using Google Shopping

Google Shopping on its own won’t do much if you don’t have the right strategy and technology in place.

“To complement our Google Shopping and Google Search strategy, we have marketing campaigns live on other channels to generate brand awareness and inform our target audience ― people with light sensitivity and migraines ― of our solution so that when it comes time to make a purchase, consumers recognize our brand and are more likely to buy.” ― Rollins

However, there are some powerful benefits of using Google Shopping that other tools can’t offer because:

  • It’s a free platform on which to list your products
  • You can reach and access a wider audience and attract more customers
  • Your business can appear several times through a text-only, shopping, or website result within Google’s search engine results page (SERP), translating potentially into higher engagement and revenue
  • It streamlines product tracking and sales, which you can manage easily via the Merchant Center dashboard
  • It integrates with Google Lens, which could increase brand recognition, making it easier for customers to find and buy your products
  • It provides relevant and detailed product information, which helps improve the quality and number of leads that buy from you
  • You can manage ads easily without having to pick out and bid on keywords separately as you do for general text ads
  • It generates insightful product performance reports for a given period, which helps you identify the business goals to work toward

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Using Google Shopping for Your E-Commerce Business

How Does Google Shopping Compare With Other Shopping Sites?

Google Shopping collects product information from participating sellers and puts them in a searchable format. When consumers find what they’re looking for, they can go to your store’s website to buy it or they can buy it from Google.

How Are Product Recommendations on Google Shopping Generated?

Product recommendations are drawn from the information in users’ Google accounts, including their Web and App Activity. This feature is available in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan.

How Up-to-Date Is the Product Information?

As a participating seller, you’ll provide most of the information that shows up on Google Shopping. When you update the information, such as product price, there may be a delay before it’s published. Have a product landing page ready with the most up-to-date information for customers to compare.

What To Do Next

Google Shopping is a space to promote your products on Google for free. Plus, it provides paid promotion opportunities to further your reach and increase your potential sales.

To leverage all the perks of this feature:

  • Get a reliable online store, which you can do reliably with a website builder
  • Develop a strong e-commerce marketing strategy, highlighting products across the buyer’s journey and where they’re most likely to conduct initial research
  • Set up Google Shopping for your business

Use all the tools at your disposal to maximize your chances of success.

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