Recent Changes to Google Shopping and What They Mean for Your Ecommerce Business

The eminent scholar, Principal Seymour Skinner coined the phrase, “the times they are a-becoming quite different,” in the bygone and nearly forgotten era of 1994, a time when Netscape launched one of the first widely available web browsers, Mosaic Netscape 0.9. Little did he know just how poignant his words would be in the coming 20+ years.

In these Modern Times, Google Shopping is a must if you have an e-commerce website. Many people think it is a panacea for their shop front declining sales woes, that they Gotta Serve Somebody online easily using the platform that makes it easy for the consumer to make a purchasing decision. And in many ways they are right, but it, like everything else, needs close attention.

What are the Recent Policy Changes?

The Hurricane that is Google policy, sometimes causing devastation when it changes, also works in your favour. You may think that the recent changes to policy in regards to shipping are ridiculous. “But the shipping details are already on my website, why do I need to put it in my Google Merchant Center as well?” I hear you cry. Think about the reasons why Google would want to make it easy for a consumer to see the actual cost of an item in Google Shopping. Google wants your business to succeed!

Having the actual cost to the consumer readily apparent at the initial search means that you won’t be receiving clicks from people who will balk at the cost of shipping once they are at your checkout. This saves you the cost of a click in many cases and gives you better data in regards to your competitors and what they are charging.

Ensuring you are completely compliant with Google Shopping Policy, for both the Merchant Center and your website, will mean you will have Shelter From The Storm if and when they enforce or slightly change the policy as has happened recently.

How to Stay on Top of the Changes

Like A Rolling Stone there needs to be constant effort put into a Google Shopping campaign so that you don’t gather moss. Optimising the titles and descriptions of your products is an ongoing task, utilising your Search Network campaign AND your Google Shopping campaign, in particular the Search Query Report, will make sure that you are showing for the terms that have the best chance at converting.

Fortunately Google gives us warning when there is going to be a policy change/ enforcement. For us Google AdWords professionals, being across these warnings make the changes seem like a Slow Train Coming, but for many businesses these changes are like being hit by a Mack truck as they destroy sales by simply not serving their ads any more, seemingly out of nowhere. That’s why it is important to hear the Thunder On The Mountain so you can prepare for the policy change if it is to arise.

Looking Forward

Google Shopping is growing, no doubt, but it won’t be Forever Young. Eventually these seemingly drastic changes in policy will be a distant memory, as the system matures and as more and more businesses become Trusted Stores providing much more confidence to consumers. If you haven’t heard of Google Trusted Stores, I am advising you to jump on it now. While it is not an absolute requirement right now, with me keeping an eye out for you All Along The Watchtower, it will be something that, in the future, is a must.

Clearly we want your business to be Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, heaven in this respect being a successful online business where your main concern is prompt distribution and administration, rather than the relentless search for sales. Best way to do this is to cover all bases:

1. Stay across Google Policy updates in regards to shopping.
2. Optimise your titles and descriptions for your products to be converting terms.
3. Become a Google Trusted Stores member.

This way, should there be any changes in the future to Google Shopping Policy, you won’t beBlowin’ In The Wind, like the song by relatively unknown artist Bob Dylan.

(In case you missed it, the italics are all Bob Dylan references)