Google Shopping FAQs to Get You Started

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Google Shopping FAQ

Formerly known as Product Listing Ads, Google Shopping is one of Google’s widely recognized services. This service allows businesses to list their products over Google’s SERP (Search Engine Result Page), providing companies with the kickstart to showcase their products to targeted audiences.

You must have seen Google Shopping Ads, one way or the other while surfing the internet in the past. 

Remember those product images that you see whenever you search for something on the Google search engines?

Yes, those results that are showcased as a result of specific keywords are products of Google Shopping ads. 

Google Shopping is a platform that has revolutionized the way ads are displayed. Under this platform, ads are no longer content based posters but high definition images containing rich product information, showcasing the actual product and the merchant along with the price. 

#Q1 – What is the Google shopping process? 

Getting started on the Google Shopping process is easy; it all begins with the creation of your Google AdWords account, the post that, you can begin the Shopping process using a simple Google login.

First, you need to start by setting up a Google Merchant Center account by giving in the desired input regarding your business and verifying your website.

Post the verification; you need to upload your data feed in text or XML format. This feed is a composition of the products’ list and its attributes, containing all the relevant information like features, brand, price, and availability.

Once done with the feeds, vendors need to link their Merchant Center and Google Ads (AdWords) accounts under the settings section.

Now that you are finally ready to set up Google shopping, it’s time to start with campaign creation. 

Campaign creation on Google Shopping Ads: 

Beginning your first campaign over Shopping Ads is easy. All you need to do is click the ‘+Campaign’ button where you will need to select ‘Shopping.’

Post the creation of a successful campaign; your products are ready to display over Google search results.

#Q2 -Is it safe to buy from Google Shopping?

Concerns regarding shopping safety are one of the most common Google shopping faqs that we come across.  

Yes, it is entirely safe and secure to use Google Shopping. While it might look like an online shopping marketplace, similar to the likes of Amazon and Flipkart, things are very different. 

Google carries out stringent policies when it comes to carrying out commercial activities with its Google Shopping platform. In fact, the process of listing requires a lot of verification. 

Any product/services that are found to violate the policies laid by Google (counterfeit, illegal goods, dangerous, and stolen goods, among others) are immediately taken off by the platform without any notice to the vendor. 

However, it is crucial to understand that Google Shopping acts as a platform that merges buyers and sellers over one single platform and not sells products. It is just a means to help businesses improve their reach to the desired audience. 

#Q3 -How does Google Shopping work?

Before we understand how Google Shopping works, it’s important to understand two essential platforms before we know a detailed process of how Google Shopping works:

Google Ads

Google Ads is an advertising tool that works on the principles of bidding strategy; i.e.advertisers, need to bid on keywords to strategize the position of their ads over Google’s search results. 

Further, Google Ads, formerly known as Adwords, also allows marketers to save shopping campaigns, analyze campaigns, handle multiple bids, and set a budget to optimize their marketing accordingly.

Google Merchant Center

Google Merchant Center acts as the database of all the product feeds for your eCommerce store, formatted by Google.

Now, Google Shopping works in cooperation with the platforms mentioned above. When eCommerce business owners upload their product feeds over Google Shopping to post ads, this information gets uploaded and updated in real-time. 

Getting Google Shopping Ads to deliver effective results solely depended on the product feed, and it needs to be developed accordingly. 

Whenever a user executes a search, Google crosschecks its product feeds to develop relevant product results. This way, Google Shopping comes up with accurate ads for your products by getting access to current prices, offers, sales, and availability. 

Therefore, every time users click on your ad or complete a transaction over your eCommerce store, you pay a portion of the profit to Google Shopping in the form of commission.

#Q4 -How does Google Shopping compare with other shopping sites?

Unlike eCommerce marketplaces, Google Shopping is not the seller of products. Instead, it brings together various retailers and promotes their products through ads displayed in the SERP. Therefore, when you find a product that you were looking for over the search results, Google allows you to visit the site to make the purchase.

The most significant difference between traditional eCommerce marketplaces and Google Shopping can be pointed out during the transaction. When you purchase a product from marketplaces like Amazon or Flipkart, your transactions happen with the eCommerce platform and offer a certain protection level. 

On the contrary, most transactions are carried directly at the merchant’s site on Google Shopping, connecting you directly with the product/service seller. 

Still, confused? Here’s an example of the scenario:

For example, if you look for “Nike Sport Shoe” on Google Shopping and click on any of the results you find relevant, it takes you directly to the retailer’s website to finalize your choice and further transactions. Here, Google is the link that links you with your desired product and its seller. 

#Q5 -How do I appear on Google Shopping?

Appearing on Google Shopping is easy; all you need to do is begin with the process of registration over the following platforms:

  • Merchant Center account
  • Google account
  • Google Ads account

Once done with the successful registration over these three accounts, you should link your Merchant account with your AdWords account. 

Post the linking process; your product data is available for Google Shopping. Once you have access to your data, appearing on Google Shopping is just a few steps away.

Now, all you need to do is upload relevant product information to the Merchant Center, and voila, your products are ready to populate over Google’s search results.

Tip: If you are a beginner trying out the basics of Google Shopping Ads for the first time, we suggest that you try out your campaigns’ effectiveness with some test feeds. You can access this functionality over the Merchant Center, where you can run your test feeds without the risk of getting them published.

#Q6 -Do you have to pay for Google Shopping?

If you are a user who was looking up for products and came across specific results across the search engine results, Google Shopping is free of cost medium to pair you up with a dedicated seller. 

However, sellers who want to be featured on Google Shopping need to pay a predetermined amount of fee for their products’ advertising and visibility over the platform.

#Q7 -How much does it cost to get on Google Shopping?

Unlike traditional marketing channels like newspapers or billboards, where retailers needed to rent out certain space to advertise their product/services regardless of the output, Google Shopping Ads takes a different approach.  

Google charges its vendors over the click, usually referred to as PPC (pay-per-click). Further, the preferable means to cover such ads are usually over two plans, as laid out by Google:

  • CPC (cost-per-click) for Shopping Ads 
  • CPE (cost-per-engagement) for Local Catalogue Ads/ Showcase Shopping Ads 

Therefore, considering that Shopping Ads are designed on pay per click, users can’t determine the cost of running ad campaigns over Google Shopping Ads. 

However, you can pre-determine the costs you would like to bear over advertisements for your eCommerce business. 

#Q8 -Does Google Shopping increase sales?

Yes, Google Shopping is indeed a reliable platform to help multiply sales. However, several factors come into play. In theory, Google Shopping is a reliable and simple way of generating sales. 

The process is simple and requires users to upload products via Google Merchant Center and link it with Adwords to allow your product images to populate on Google SERP. 

However, it’s your bidding strategy that plays a significant role in multiplying your sales. When you pair the right Google Shopping strategy to relevant keywords with high density, it can be a lucrative way to improve your eCommerce sales.

Interestingly, this question counts as the most commonly asked Google shopping FAQs in our list.

#Q9 -Can I buy items directly from Google Shopping?

The nature of Google Shopping allows it to be a platform that connects vendors with relevant buyers of a product. 

However, the recent turn of events has made it possible for customers to buy items directly from Google’s platform. 

Google has come up with significant modifications around its Shopping platform, allowing shoppers to compare a wide variety of products over thousands of stores and buy them directly from Google.

Further, the items that include a blue shopping cart button will allow customers to make purchases directly through Google Shopping.

#Q10 – What is Google’s free listing?

Google free listing is a relatively new program that was launched earlier this year. This program allows merchants to multiply their reach by showcasing their products across Google Shopping, for free. 

The tech giant has achieved this stint with the help of minor tweaks in their results page. The searches over the shopping tabs on Google comprise the free listings, similar to the SERP. However, it doesn’t take away the spot for paid ads, and Shopping ads still appear over the search results like they usually do.

With Google’s free listing, the company aims at maximizing reach and conversions at every level of business:

1. For retailers: Free exposure to millions of Google website visitors that use the search engine to shop for their products.

2. For shoppers: Thousands of stores offering more products, easily accessible through Google’s Shopping tab.

3. For advertisers: They can now integrate paid ad campaigns with free listings to maximize their conversions and improve sales.

#Q11 – Does Google Shopping Use keywords?

Yes, Google Shopping uses keywords to provide retailers with the best returns on their ad spends.

However, things are different over traditional advertisements, where you need to submit a list of keywords of your preference. Google Ads won’t ask you to submit a list; 

instead, it curates a list of relevant keywords from the product information submitted by the store owners when creating product feeds for their campaigns.

#Q12 – How do I optimize Google Shopping?

The idea of creating a perfect product feed might sound tempting; however, it is not the job done. To successfully advertise your products and draw effective results from your campaigns, you need to optimize your Google Ads to procure the best results. 

When you optimize your Google Shopping page, improved conversions and sales are just a step away and saves you from wasting your money on products over campaigns that don’t perform well. 

Listed below are some of the ways you can optimize your Google Shopping

  • Optimize your Title by keeping it at 70 characters
  • Use Image format preferred by Google (preferably GIF, BMP, JPG, PNG, or TIF)
  • Put relevant product information
  • Align your feed and product URL
  • Optimize your ad structure
  • Segregate different products into categories and campaigns

Tip: Follow the requirements listed in Google Merchant Center to pick up on the different optimization tricks. Following Google’s guidelines ensure maximum optimization of your Shopping Ads.

#Q13 – Where is Google shopping available?

As of Today, Google shopping ads have a presence in over 90 countries. Including:

  • Canada
  • Australia 
  • Germany 
  • India
  • France
  • Philippines
  • Hong Kong 
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Malaysia 
  • Sweden
  • Netherlands 
  • South Africa
  • New Zealand 
  • Singapore
  • Sweden 
  • United Kingdom 
  • Taiwan 
  • United States
  • United Arab Emirates

 #Q14 – How do I add reviews to Google Shopping?

There are three ways to add your product reviews on Google Shopping, all of which are described below:

1. Use 3rd Party Reviews Aggregator that are approved by Google

One of the easiest ways to upload your Product Reviews on Google, third-party aggregator tools require minimal intervention. You can easily select any of the Google-approved aggregators to add reviews over your eCommerce store:

  1. Bazaarvoice
  2. Yotpo
  3. Feefo
  4. Reviews.io
  5. PowerReviews
  6. Verified Reviews
  7. Reevoo
  8. Trustpilot
  9. eKomi
  10. Trusted Shops

However, it should be understood that there are a few countries that don’t support 3rd party review aggregators. 

The countries that allow their use are: Belgium, Australia, the United Kingdom, Austria, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Germany, the United States, Switzerland & Spain. 

Therefore, make sure you check Google’s guide for the availability of aggregators in your country.

2. Upload your Feed Product Reviews into the Merchant Center

The second way to get your feed product reviews uploaded over the merchant center might be complicated. Therefore, we suggest you take help from a developer or third-party plugin that helps export feed in a format that Google accepts.

You need to update your feed into the Merchant center in an XML format; the approval generally takes some days; stay patient.

3. Start using Google Customer Reviews

If you are on the verge of creating a website or can induce new elements on your website, we suggest you start working with Google Customer Reviews. 

This program sends emails to your customers, asking about their overall purchase experience once they buy something from your store. 

What’s your role?

You need to add a snippet to your ‘Thank You’ page that comes up, post a successful sale.

Final Thoughts

Listed above were some of the most common Google shopping faqs we came across while doing our research. We hope to have covered all the essential topics that one might come across while setting up their Google Shopping Ads.

However, we understand the scope of coming across something new overtime as Google keeps working to make the Shopping Ads experience better for its users. Feel free to reach out with your questions.

Until then, all the best with setting up your Google Shopping campaigns.

Some resources that we think might come in handy:

About the author

Karthik Ramachandiran

Google Ads Expert From Bengaluru. Share his Expertise Here