Will free listings elevate Google Shopping?
In another rollout accelerated by the pandemic, Google is now allowing merchants to list their products on Google Shopping for free.
Previously, Google was paid every time a buyer clicked through to a merchant’s website. Now, anyone who operates a website or manages a store on a marketplace platform can list without paying. Similar to Amazon.com, merchants can still pay for better placement as promoted listings.
The move could significantly increase the amount of merchandise available on the Google Shopping platform versus the pay-to-play model to the benefit of consumers and merchants able to tap free listings.
“For retailers, this change means free exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs,” said Bill Ready, head of Google Commerce, in a blog entry. “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.”
SearchEngineLand believes Google made the decision partly because over the years the company has significantly improved its ability to ensure that product feeds match the data on the site, helping avoid out-of-stocks and misdirected links.
The change, however, is also seen as a response to Amazon’s dominance of product search. According to a survey from CivicScience that came out last October, 49 percent of Americans start their product searches at Amazon versus only 22 percent at Google.
At a time when out-of-stocks continue at retail and Amazon is grappling with delivery delays amid the pandemic, the free listings enable more retailers to tap Google’s scale. “With hundreds of millions of shopping searches on Google each day, we know that many retailers have the items people need in stock and ready to ship, but are less discoverable online,” said Mr. Ready.
Google also announced a new partnership with PayPal to allow merchants to link their accounts.
Last October, the Google Shopping platform underwent an upgrade that included enhanced personalization, price-tracking capabilities and filtered product searches to nearby stores.
- It’s now free to sell on Google – Google
- Google Shopping gets an upgrade – RetailWire
- In major shift, Google Shopping opens up to free product listings – searchengineland.com
- Google will now let any business list products on Google Shopping for free – The Verge
- Google switches its Shopping search service to mostly free listings – TechCrunch
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will offering free listings help the Google Shopping platform better compete against Amazon? Is Amazon vulnerable to losing share in product search amid the pandemic?