Worldwide, online consumer sales have increased tremendously in recent years. If you are an entrepreneur who physically sells products or owns a webshop, online sales channels are a must. Within online sales channels, there are several options available. For example, Google has developed its own sales channel for the search engine, called Google Shopping. Using this has the following advantages:
- 30% more conversions than text ads
- Displayed at the top of the results page in Google
- Better quality clicks
What is Google Shopping?
Part of search engine advertising is Google Shopping. Google’s online sales service is run through the combination of two platforms, Google Ads and Google Merchant Center. More about these two platforms in a moment. Froogle, the precursor to Google Shopping, was launched in 2002. Google Shopping was introduced in 2012 and was immediately popular. So over the years, Google has also fully expanded and optimized its Shopping platform.
Google Shopping shows products to users when they search for keywords relevant to the products in question. Internet users see, for example, a picture of the product, a description and the price. In addition, Google Shopping shows the user several more attributes. All this product data together is called a product feed. So the feed is actually a collection of online information about the products.
Products are thus shown to users when they search using search terms relevant to the respective products. These products are shown to users in Google Shopping at the top of the results page, also called search engine result page (SERP), and within the Google Shopping section. There are two ways you can display the offer in Google Shopping: You can do it in the organic way or through ad campaigns. We’ll see how this all works in a moment, but first we’ll look at some of the benefits of Google Shopping.
Google Shopping is shown at the top of the product page in Google
What are the benefits of Google Shopping?
There are three major advantages to using Google Shopping as a business. First, Google Shopping provides consumers with all the necessary information about the products they want to purchase. For example, Google Shopping gives the consumer things like the price, design, an image, shipping and other terms of the product. So the potential consumer can instantly find all the information. When they click on it, it is redirected to the online store. Thus, Google Shopping ensures better quality clicks.
Second, Google Shopping will result in more conversions on average. This is simply because users are already shown all the necessary information such as price and how the product looks. For example, a study has shown that consumers within Google Shopping trigger 30% more conversions than with standard text ads from Google Ads.
Finally, Google Shopping is a great way to outsmart the competition. In Google Shopping, business owners can offer numerous information to potential consumers. This ensures that the user can easily compare the products displayed in Google Shopping and make an informed choice. The price, for example, is very easy to compare with competitors’ prices. As an entrepreneur, you can outsmart competitors within Google Shopping with a smart pricing strategy. So, there is many reasons to start Google Shopping quickly. But how do you place products in Google Shopping and why do you need Google Merchant Center for this?
What is Google Merchant Center?
Google Merchant Center is a service from Google and allows you to upload store and product information to Google and make it available in the search engine. This store and product information need services such as Google Shopping and Google Ads, for example, to work. It is important that you have a Google account, otherwise you cannot sign up for Google Merchant Center. If you use Gmail or Youtube, you already have a Google account. If you don’t have a Google account yet, go to accounts.google.com to create a new account.
What is a Google Shopping feed?
Google Shopping does not work like search ads based on keywords, but on a product feed. A product feed or product data feed is a file containing product information. This file contains all data such as description, price, color, size etc. of the products. When you upload a product feed to Google Shopping, we call the file your Google Shopping feed.
How does Google Shopping work?
Now that we know what Google Shopping is, what other services Google requires and what a product feed is, let’s look at how to actually get products into Google Shopping. As we have already discussed, the feed should be complete and comprehensive. This is because this way Google can easily read and index the products. There are then two ways to share the information with Google Shopping so they can be displayed, namely: manually through Google Merchant Center and automatically with the Product Feed Pro plug-in for WooCommerce.
1. Manually via Google Merchant Center
Within Google Merchant Center, business owners can enter the assortment manually. For a webshop with many products, a lot of time and energy can go into this. The products are displayed in Google Shopping when users search for them.
2. Automatically with the Product Feed Pro plug-in for WooCommerce
The second way to share products with Google Shopping so they can be shown is automatic. However, some additional preparation is required. Namely, in order to share a product feed with Google Shopping, you need the plug-in for WooCommerce called Product Feed Pro. WooCommerce is a very popular shopping cart plug-in for WordPress. That is an open source software and the most widely used content management system (CMS) in the world. About 37% of all websites and webshops are created using WordPress.
Once you have the plug-in, Product Feed Pro, installed in WooCommerce, you can get started. In the back-end there is a link to WooCommerce. This link allows the plug-in to generate product feed. You then need to upload the generated feed in Google Merchant Center. Once this is done, the feed shares product information with Google Shopping. The process of information sharing between Product Feed Pro and Google Shopping takes place automatically. This makes it possible to show products to users searching for them.
As a business owner, you can go one step further by also creating a link between the inventory system and the back-end of the shop. If this is set up correctly, Google Shopping can indicate livestock status of the assortment. This ensures that products are not shown in Google Shopping when they are out of stock.
Google Shopping with Google Ads
Above we have seen two ways to have products displayed in Google Shopping without having to pay for them. So through the above ways you generate organic traffic. However, within Google Shopping there is also the possibility to link to a Google Ads account. This can ensure that you are shown more often in Google Shopping with certain products when users search for relevant keywords for these products.
But how does this work? Google Merchant Center contains all your store and product information. Within Google Ads, you can then set up an ad campaign around products or a selection of these products from Google Shopping. As with standard advertising in Google Ads, you set a maximum bid for a particular keyword. Merchant Center contains a product feed and in Google Ads the ad is developed, so Google Shopping will advertise your products for the set amount.
What are Shopping ads?
When a product feed is uploaded in Google Merchant Center, and Google Shopping can use it, we call it a Google Shopping feed. When the products are shown in Google Shopping through an ad from a Google Ads campaign, we call this ad a Google Shopping ad.
Why is Google Shopping important?
Since the launch of Google Shopping in 2012, the service has been vastly expanded and optimized. There are several reasons why Google Shopping can be very important. Which points matter? We’ll tell you below.
1. More visibility?
Google Shopping is simply an additional online sales channel for products. Google Shopping thus provides, on average, a higher visibility of the assortment within the search engine. Since the search engine giant Google has millions of daily users, it would be a shame not to seize this opportunity of visibility.
2. At the very top of Google search results
Google Shopping and its available products are displayed at the top of the results page within Google. So after Google Shopping, the paid search results follow first, then any images and Google Maps options, and only then the organic search results. Placing products in Google Shopping therefore ensures that your offer is shown directly to potential customers when they search for relevant search terms.
3. Highly detailed specification
Within Google Merchant Center, it is possible to make highly detailed store and product information available. Specific characteristics of products, such as color or size, can be customized within the Merchant Center. In addition, Google Shopping provides the Internet user with numerous information about different products.
4. More relevant potential consumers
Because within Google Shopping the product offerings can be shown to users in great detail, it results in more relevant potential consumers. We can say that the more targeted and specific the offer, the more relevant visitors will be. Potential consumers can become interested in the products more quickly due to the information within Google Shopping.
5. Outsmart your competitors
Finally, Google Shopping is a way to serve potential customers better than the competition does. Chances are that competitors are also active on Google Shopping. So if you are not actively present on Google Shopping, you miss out on a lot of potential customers and thus sales. With a detailed and specific product feed, make sure that you conquer the spot of your competitors. Moreover, by making smart use of Shopping ads, you can stay ahead of the competition.
What does Google Shopping cost?
Within Google Shopping, it is possible to show products to potential consumers without having to pay for them. We have seen that there are two ways to get free products in Google Shopping. This is manually through Google Merchant Center or automatically with the Product Feed Pro plug-in for WooCommerce. As a business owner, when you choose to also apply Shopping ads for products in Google Shopping, it’s obviously going to cost money. However, a strong ad campaign within Google Ads can be very profitable.
Outsourcing Google Shopping to Convident
Setting up the Google Shopping environment for offerings requires many steps. Thus, we have seen that manually setting up Google Shopping through Google Merchant Center can take a lot of time. Convident’s online marketers specialize in working with WordPress websites and webshops. Moreover, we use the Product Feed Pro plug-in for WooCommerce. This way, we ensure that your product feed is fully and correctly linked to Google Shopping. Finally, we have experience with different strategies within Google Shopping, such as a competitive pricing strategy.
When the link between Google Shopping and Google Ads is established, new doors open. Targeted and relevant ad campaigns can ensure that products in Google Shopping are shown to potential customers even more often. Our SEA specialists work a lot with Google Ads and know which ads work and which do not. Thus, we ensure a smooth and profitable link between your products in Google Shopping and the developed Shopping ads.
Curious about the possibilities of Google Shopping? Come by our office for an introductory meeting. Our online marketers are happy to assist you!