Free Google Shopping Advertising is Here
As of 21st April 2020, the president of Commerce, Bill Ready, announced that Google would be moving forward with their plans to offer the service free for merchants to sell their products with the free Google shopping integration. In the past, payments have taken place to list products; now, the results will consist of mainly free listings.
Free Google Shopping Listings Sparked by COVID-19
As millions of people were stuck at home, safely sheltering from COVID-19, Bill Ready made his announcement. With many brick and mortar stores having no choice but to close their doors, this e-commerce strategy was perfectly implemented as an urgent priority. The search engine giant had a pre-existing plan for free shopping listings but decided to speed it up due to the virus. This was a way they felt they could help struggling retailers through this worldwide crisis.
“”For retailers, this change means free exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs. For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Google Shopping tab. For advertisers, this means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.”” – Bill Ready, Google.
Google Shopping: What is it?
Google Shopping allows consumers to search for different products online from various retailers and compare price and offerings. When consumers use this service, they browse products from merchants and advertisers who have chosen to use this Google service for their products.
This is powered by two Google Ads and Google Merchant Centre. Over the past two decades, it has become an alternative to e-commerce giants like Amazon. Click here to know more details about Google Ads.
In 2012, a free version of Google Shopping ads was removed, and merchants were now required to pay the company to list products in advertising form. Thus, every time someone clicked through to their website, they were required to pay; evidently, this deterred users from using this platform and used Google Ads to run campaigns or use other third-party marketplaces.
Getting back to their roots, they are now back to offering free listings and will be a permanent feature.
E-commerce Competition Sparks Free Google Shopping
As more customers are driven to places like Amazon to make online purchases, Google ”came to the rescue” by aiming to help retailers during COVID and the economic crisis it created. This is without a doubt also a strategic way to expand its role in what was an e-commerce boom.
Google has watched Amazon gain share in product search and advertising. Those that aren’t willing to pay the price Google expected moved over to Amazon, placing them at a disadvantage. Being more open, Google will appeal more to sellers and consumers and are working toward being the place to go to find and sell products online.
Partnering with PayPal
Smartly so, Google is partnering with PayPal. This is to bring merchants to their platform quickly and link their existing accounts for accepting payments. Their mission is to make the transition seamless to speed up merchants coming on board.
With Google making this service free, any retailers, shoppers, and advertisers will benefit from interacting with the platform, including:
- Free exposure for retailers
- Discovery of more products by shoppers
- Small businesses will get traction
- Advertises paid campaigns will benefit from free listings
New retailers will need to set up a merchant account to begin the onboarding process and upload to the merchant centre.
It should be noted that Google still accepts paid listings, which will have priority in the product listing carousel and shopping tab in Google Search.
In 2020, when the world shut down and many brick and mortar businesses moved online and are still doing so, Google shopping stepped up to create accessibility for retailers and consumers. Bill Ready noted that it doesn’t solve product shortages, but it means smaller businesses are now more visible, which is a lifesaver for some to stay afloat during the pandemic.
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