Google Shopping

--- Quick Info:

Active in: A large number of countries worldwide (43)
Visitors per month: Varies by domain (> 100 million worldwide)
Commission: Based on your set CPC (cost per click)
Payment: Via your own webshop
Product categories Almost everything
Input language (title + description):
Depends on target country
Input currency Depends on target country
Content link: Yes (feed)

--- Request and configure an account

Selling online via Google Shopping is an easy and effective way to reach millions of potential buyers. Whether you have to sell a little or sell a lot, Google Shopping provides you the required tools and experience to sell online successfully. Read more about the benefits and solutions of Google Shopping here. In order to start selling in Google Shopping, you need to create an account for the Google Merchant Center. But, we also recommend creating accounts of Google Adwords and Google Analytics to make your selling experience more complete.

To create a Google Merchant account is free. However, the only use of the Merchant Center account is to submit in-stock physical inventory for product-listing ads. The cost for product-listing ads is per click. One of the most important steps creating the Merchant Center account is to verify and claim your website. From Google Help Center, there are some requirements when you claim your webshop to your Merchant Center account: 

More information on how to set up your Merchant Center account can be found here. Additionally, to create a Google Adwords account and Google Analytics, you can find more information about how to set up and manage these accounts here: Google Adwords setup and Google Analytics setup.

Additionally, before creating a payment profile and submit your product information, you must ensure that your company meets the following payment center guidelines:

  • Only promote items that can be purchased immediately (no back orders).
  • Use an official language.
  • Customers tell about your return and return policy.
  • Collect user data in a responsible and secure manner.
  • Follow the shopping advertising policy.
  • Verify and claim your website URL.
  • Website Requirements (already explained above).
  • Ensure that your data meets the product specifications.
  • Log in to your Merchant Center account regularly.

--- Channel Features

Supported Not supported 
Product content (feed) Orders
Currency conversion (optional) Shipments

Cancellations

Returns

As Google Shopping is an affiliate / click channel, it does not have any marketplace actions such as processing orders and shipments directly. The plugin / channel is used to generate a feed to include in your Google Merchant Center, but all order handling is done directly on your webshop.

--- Channel setup

Setting up every channel in ChannelEngine follows the same steps / flow:

  • Adding the channel
  • Filling in the required settings on the 'Setup' tab
  • Creating a product selection
    Warning: This step is necessary in order to have a product feed being generated for Google Shopping
  • Categorising the selected products
  • Setting up the mapping (content / offer)
  • Configuring the pricing (price rules / currency conversion)
  • Activating the channel (this enables all tasks like exporting product information and importing orders)
  • The 'Listed Product' overview (here you can see the status of a product, what we exported and the response from the channel).

--- Specific Google Shopping settings / configuration

Setup:

On the ' Setup' tab you will see an option labeled 'Do not expose actual stock'. While this option is valid for most other affiliate channels, it has no effect for Google Shopping. Google Shopping uses an 'In stock' / 'Out of stock' designation of stock, so it doesn't use or display exact stock numbers anyway. Therefore you can just ignore this option.

If you want to use ChannelEngine's own conversion tracking, you can also enter your ' Cost per Click' (which you setup in the Google Merchant Center) so we can automatically calculate the costs and ROI.

Product selection / Creating a product feed:

To have a product feed generated, you will need to create a product selection of all the products you want to be listed on Google Shopping first. Please note that after saving the selection it can take up to 1 hour before the feed is generated for the first time. After that, it will be regenerated every hour. 

You will find the product feed location in ChannelEngine in the ' Product Selection' tab. This location / URL will never change (unless you remove the channel and re-add it later) and is the one you will need to submit to the Google Merchant account. 

It is also possible (but unadvised) to use a feed in Google spreadsheets with the supplied feed template. You can also submit your own product database using feed rules. To prevent Google Shopping disapproving your initial product feed, you can find the requirements for product information on the product feed

To add the product feed to your Merchant Center, navigate to Accounts > select your account name > Products > Feeds. There, press the plus sign in the blue circle to add a new product feed. On the first page select your desired country of sale, the language used in the product feed and the destination. Press 'Continue'.

Name you product feed and choose 'scheduled fetch' to have Google download the feed on a schedule. Press ' Continue' again, enter a name, select a 'daily' frequency (you can choose whatever time you'd like) and past the 'File URL' from the ChannelEngine dashboard. There is no username and password required to download our product feed. Press 'Continue' again and finish submitting the new product feed.

Warning: Please categorise and 'map' all your products and product attributes before submitting the product feed to Google. Otherwise the feed will be either empty or incomplete, causing your products to not be listed yet or with insufficient information.

Categorisation:

Please 'map' your own categories to the category list from Google Shopping. Google Shopping has it owns category tree and it's mandatory to use its taxonomy.

The Google Shopping category tree is (usually) in the main language of the country your creating a Google Shopping feed for, so English speaking countries will have categories in English and Spanish speaking countries will have categories in Spanish, etc.

Mapping:

Content

Compared with other affiliate channels, Google Shopping has a long list of required attributes that must be included in the inventory file content. Some of the attributes that Google shopping requires are: 'Age group', 'Name', 'Description', 'Price', 'Condition' and 'Link' of the landing page. Regarding the landing page of the products, there are other requirements that can be checked here. Some categories have some additional requires attributes and to approve conversion it is strongly advised to supply (map) as many contents as possible.

A number of fields called "Custom label" (0 to 4) are displayed at the end of the mappings (on the right). These fields can be used in the Google Shopping campaigns. For more information, see: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6275295

If you want to supply multiple additional images (on Google the 'Image Link' image will be displayed first), you can submit multiple images by separating them with a comma (for example:  http://www.example.com/image2.jpg,http://www.example.com/image3.jpg,http://www.example.com/image4.jpg). If you want to use image attributes in ChannelEngine, you can use the relevant replacementtags: {CE:ExtraImageUrl1},{CE:ExtraImageUrl2},{CE:ExtraImageUrl3}.

Fill in / map all the required attributes and ' Save' your changes to have this all included in the next product feed export. Note: while usually listed as 'Offer mappings', in case of Google Shopping attributes like your Price, Sale price and Shipping price are mapped under 'Content mappings' as everything is exported in one complete file (no separate offers exist).

Pricing:

If you want to sell in Google Shopping and your target countries have a currency different than your own, you can use price rules in the ChannelEngine software to create a currency conversion. Moreover, you can check the language and currency requirements of Google Shopping, to ensure that your product specifications are correctly set up.

The commission rates that Google takes will apply to the final net price, including any shipping fees. All rates are calculated based on the item category as determined by Google at the time of sale. You can read more about commission rates per category here.

Warning: As Google Shopping is a 'click' channel which redirects to your own webshop and the prices as listed on there, it's not advised to apply price rules as this would most likely cause price differences between the price listed on Google and the price on your webshop.

Activation:

In this step, it is shown an overview of the configuration done. Different status can appear, showing which steps are correctly filled and which ones need further configuration or details. In the end, if you have configured everything correctly, you can 'Activate' the channel by toggling the switch to 'On'.

--- Channel specific F.A.Q / issues

  • Where can I find the feed location Google Shopping needs? 
    The URL of the product feed can be found in the ‘Product Selection’ tab of the channel. Please note that this URL will almost remain the same, but it won’t be correctly filled with products until a filter is created.