Google Shopping: channel guide

About this guide

This is a ChannelEngine guide on the Mountain View-based affiliate network Google Shopping. Here you can find information on how to request a Google Shopping account, how to configure this channel on ChannelEngine, what the specific requirements are, and more.

Table of contents

Commercial information

How to request an account

Associated costs

Channel features

Settings and configuration

Channel-specific requirements and exceptions

FAQs

Google Shopping front-end

Commercial information

Launched December 12, 2002
Creator Craig Nevill-Manning
Headquarters Mountain View, California, United States
Area served (orders) 100+ countries
Website Google Shopping
Set-up cost none
Commission none
Other costs based on your set cost per click (CPC)
Payment via your own webshop
Product categories pretty much anything
Input language depends on the target country
Input currency depends on the target country
Content creation yes

How to request an account

To start selling on Google Shopping, you need to create a Google Merchant Center account. It is also recommended to create an account on Google Ads and on Google Analytics, which can provide you with useful statistics and valuable insights.

Below you can find some of the requirements to link your webshop to your Merchant Center account:

Before you create a payment profile and submit your product information, make sure that your company meets the following Google guidelines:

  • Follow the website requirements listed above
  • Only promote products that can be purchased immediately (i.e.: no backorders)
  • Use an officially supported language
  • Communicate your return policy to customers
  • Collect user data in a responsible and secure manner
  • Follow Google Shopping's advertising policies
  • Verify and claim your website URL
  • Ensure that your data meets the product specifications
  • Log in to your Merchant Center account regularly

Associated costs

Creating a Google Merchant Center account is free. However, you pay for every click on ads linked to the products listed – and this cost varies. For more information on the cost per click (CPC), check out Google's support page on the subject.

Google offers a marketplace solution too, which is called Buy on Google. This marketplace does charge a category-based commission, like most other marketplaces. However, Buy on Google is only available in the United States and France at the moment. Therefore, the focus of this document is the affiliate network Google Shopping.

Channel features

Google Shopping is an affiliate network, aka click channel. Google is experimenting with Google Shopping Actions, which add a shopping cart to Google Shopping, but it does not support marketplace actions such as processing orders and shipments directly. This channel generates a feed you can include in your Google Merchant Center, but all order handling is done directly on your webshop.

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

Settings and configuration

Setting up each channel on ChannelEngine follows the same flow, once you add the channel:

  1. Go through the Setup
  2. Create a Product selection
  3. Complete the Categorization
  4. Set up the Mappings: content, offers, and carriers
  5. Configure the Pricing: rules and currency conversion
  6. Finish the Activation
  7. Check the Listed products overview

Channel-specific requirements and exceptions

Setup

ChannelEngine back-end: setup

On ChannelEngine

The option  Do not expose actual stock, under the Setup tab, can be ignored. While this option is valid for most other affiliate channels, it has no effect on Google Shopping. Google Shopping uses an In stock/Out of stock designation, and it does not display exact stock numbers.

If you want to use ChannelEngine's own conversion tracking, you can enter your Cost per click, so ChannelEngine can calculate the costs and return on investment (ROI) automatically.

ChannelEngine back-end: cost per click (CPC)

Product selection

To have a product feed generated, you need to create a selection of all the products to be listed on Google Shopping. Note that after saving the selection it can take up to one hour before the feed is first generated. After this, it is regenerated hourly.

ChannelEngine back-end: product selection

You can find the product feed location on ChannelEngine under the Product selection tab. This URL does not change, unless you remove the channel and re-add it later, and is what you need to add to your Google Merchant Center account.

Although not recommended, it is possible to use a feed from Google Sheets with the feed template provided. You can also submit your own product database using feed rules. To prevent Google Shopping from rejecting your initial product feed, you can find the requirements for product information on the product feed.

Google Shopping back-end: primary feeds

To add the product feed to your Merchant Center, go to Accounts > Your account name > Products > Feeds. Select the plus sign (+) to add a new product feed. On the first page, select your target country, the language used in the product feed, and the destination. Then select Continue.

Google Shopping back-end: new product feed

Name your product feed and select Scheduled fetch to have Google download the feed on a schedule. Select Continue again, enter a name, select a daily frequency (you can choose whatever time you want), and paste the File URL from the ChannelEngine dashboard. The  username and password are not required to download ChannelEngine's product feed. Select Continue again, and finish submitting the new product feed.

NB: make sure to categorize and map all of your products and product attributes before submitting the product feed to Google. Otherwise, your products are either not listed or listed with insufficient information.

Categorization

Google Shopping has its own category tree, and it is mandatory to use its taxonomy.

ChannelEngine back-end: categorization

The Google Shopping category tree is configured in the main language of the country you are creating a Google Shopping feed for, so English-speaking countries have categories in English, Spanish-speaking countries have categories in Spanish, etc.

Mappings

Content

ChannelEngine back-end: content mappings

Google Shopping has a long list of required attributes that must be included in the inventory file content. Some of the attributes required are: Age group, Name, Description, Price, Condition, Shipping country, and Link of the landing page. Some categories have additional required attributes, and it is recommended to map as much content as possible to improve your conversion rate.

A number of Custom label (0 to 4) fields are displayed at the end of the mappings. These fields can be used in Google Shopping campaigns. For more information, see the article Use custom labels for a Shopping campaign.

The Image link image is the main product image, therefore it is the first to be displayed. You can submit multiple image URLs by separating them with a comma (e.g.: http://www.example.com/img2.jpg,http://www.example.com/img3.jpg,http://www.example.com/img4.jpg). If you prefer to use image attributes on ChannelEngine instead, you can use replacement tags in a similar way: {CE:ExtraImageUrl1},{CE:ExtraImageUrl2},{CE:ExtraImageUrl3}.

While they are usually listed under Offer mappings, on Google Shopping attributes such as Price, Sale price, and Shipping price are listed under Content mappings because all data is exported in a single file.

NB: Google expects the ISO 4217 standard currency code (e.g.: EUR, USD, GBP, etc.) along price values. While this used to be a manual process, it is now added based on the currency you map in the Currency column. If no value is selected, the default value is used (i.e.: EUR).

Pricing

If your target countries have a currency different than your own, you can use price rules on ChannelEngine to create a currency conversion. For more information on Google Shopping's currency support, check out Supported languages and currencies.

NB: Google Shopping simply redirects customers to your own webshop, so it is not advised to use price rules with this channel. Using price rules may cause price differences between what is listed on Google and what is listed on your webshop.

FAQs

  • Where can I find the feed required by Google Shopping?
  • The URL of the product feed can be found in the channel's  Product selection tab. Note that this URL remains the same, but it is not populated with products until a filter is created.

Did this answer your question? Thanks for the feedback There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again later.