14 May 2013

Google Shopping Feed: Easitill's Guide to listing products in Google Shopping from Easitill Back Office

Introduction

One of the best-kept “secrets” for creating incremental traffic to online retail sites is actually Google Shopping. The conversion rates are often higher than the more widely used channels.

First, you will need to open a Google Merchant account within Google. If you already have a company Google Adwords account you use, I would use the same login credentials to open the Google Merchant Account to keep your accounts and management process streamlined.

Once you set up your account, you will need to verify and claim your url, create your product data automated feed and launch the store.

Here is some in-depth information on how you can set up your Google Merchant Store.

Once you are running a Google Shopping program on your own or through a provider, there are some great opportunities available for advertisers that are on Google Adwords and are also running Google Shopping.

What is Google Shopping?

Google Shopping allows you to submit your products for inclusion in their search results under the "shopping" search results. Google uses the data feed product information you send to the Google Merchant Center to populate Google Shopping listing information.

People searching in google for a product can use google shopping results to search for specific products and order by price and other criteria.

They appear in general google search page results as below (often ahead of organic search page results):

For further explanation of Google Shopping and getting your products listed watch this Google Video
http://www.google.com/ads/shopping

Google Adwords linking with Google Shopping

Previously listing your product's on Google Shopping used to be free, however Google has now phased out free listings on its comparison shopping engine, Google Product Search, and transitioning to paid listings built on Product Listing Ads (Google Adwords) for its new initiative, Google Shopping. Google explained its shift in "Building a better shopping experience," a May 31 2012 blog post.

Google’s stance as stated in the announcement is that "having a commercial relationship with merchants will encourage them to keep their product information fresh and up to date" which "should mean better shopping results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for merchants."

Google Shopping results  merchant rankings will be based on both bid price and relevance, with a ranking algorithm similar to paid search.

Data Quality is key

One of the most important things to rember about embarking on listing your products in google through the data feed, is that the listings will only be accepted by Google if they meet their Data Guidelines.
If you do not meet these, your products may not be listed, repeated ignorance and trying to upload regardless may also result in you being blocked.

Easitill enables you to create a Google Data Feed export from Easitill Back Office for Google Shopping, however it will only be as good as the product data you have input. Easitill cannot be held responsible for incorrect data exported from your system, so it is key that you make sure that all products meet the following criteria:


All products to be exported to Google Shopping must:

·         Have been exported to your website
·         Have a brand assigned
·         Have a description (Product or Internet Description) with more than 3 characters
·         Have an Internet Text 1 Field with more than 3 characters
·         Have a Main Product Image attached
·         Have a retail Sell Price greater than zero

Products must also have:
Either:
·         A valid supplier/manufacturer barcode (not beginning with 399 or 20) stored in the Product record or its associated Supplier Data
Or:
·         A Preferred Supplier whose Supplier Type includes Manufacturer (not Supplier Only), in which case the Preferred Supplier's Product Code MUST be the Manufacturer's Part Number (MPN)

Items will not be included in the Data Feed if:

·         The item is Discontinued and out of stock
·         The item is Not Available and out of stock
·         The item is flagged as ‘Do not show if out of stock’ and is out of stock

Products in the Data Feed will be rejected on importing to Google if:

·         The image path(s) contain any unusual characters such as [ ]


Other Google specifications you should also be aware of:

Descriptions and Internet Text

Block capitals and promotional material, such as offering free delivery, should not be included in Descriptions or the Internet Text 1 field. Bear in mind that at the time of export you have the option of whether to use the Product or Internet Description for your Google Export and we have a function to ‘Convert Internet Descriptions to Title Case’. However the routine will not recognise brand names or acronyms and will convert them to Title Case regardless e.g. NAF will become Naf.

The Google product title is generated automatically for you, but is limited to 70 characters. We take the Product or Internet Description (depending on the option selected at the time of export) truncated, with colour/size descriptions appended automatically. To ensure the best results, limit your descriptions so that when Itemcode A and B are appended, it will not exceed 70 characters.


Availability

·        Availability is dependent upon stock units for the Internet Site at the time of export. For this reason, fresh data should be exported to Google regularly. Note that with the Real-Time stock option on Easi-Web, the item may no longer be available on your website and the appropriate actions will be taken on the webpages and the checkout page depending on the option chosen.

Sell Prices

·        Sell Price is Gross Sell Price in GBP. If you have queued up Special Prices, those prices and their effective dates will also be exported to Google and will be implemented for the selected timescale only. Note that Google can only handle offers where the unit price is reduced and cannot process Mix & Match or Multi-Buy offers.
·       It is imperative that the sell prices and offer prices in your Google Data Feeds match those on your website. For this reason, fresh data should be exported to Google regularly.


Merchants must also adhere to all Google Shopping policies.



Exporting a Google Data Feed from Easitill

Easitill will need to help set up the export process settings the first time you wish to start using this facility. Once this is done you will then simply need to go to export internet data> export google data feed.

You will need to export a new data feed every time you upload new data to your website for google to pick up. This will ensure your website and Google Shopping listings match.