This is a guest post written by Lace Llanora from The Wholesale Forums, the UK’s leading B2B networking community & advice forum for wholesalers, distributors, importers, dropshippers and retailers. You can follow them on Twitter and on Facebook.
As online selling grows to become an attractive occupation, it’s no surprise how competitive the online marketplace has become. If you haven’t heard of Google Merchant Center, keep on reading to discover how it can help your products stand out.
What is Google Merchant Center and how’s it different from Google Base?
Google Merchant Center was formerly known as Google Base but provides a better, more optimized experience specifically for product listings. This free tool relies on data feeds that merchants submit so that products are easily found on Google Product Search (items occasionally show up in a regular Google Search too!). I’ll tell you more about data feeds but first, let’s find out if Google Merchant Center is for you.
Who can use Google Merchant Center?
Online retailers who run their own websites or e-shops are free to use Google Merchant Center. If you are an individual marketplace seller (i.e. on Amazon or eBay), you should submit your data directly from the marketplace and the marketplace should submit the items to the Merchant Center on your behalf. According to Google, marketplaces are responsible for answering Merchant Center-related questions from their individual marketplace sellers.
Creating your first Product Data Feed
After signing up with Google Merchant Center, you will be required to submit a product data feed – simply put this is a list of items with their respective attributes like availability, price, URL, and image. It may sound complicated but actually it’s not. Anyone can do it using a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel but be sure to save your work as “tab deliminated” or in .txt. Here’s an example of a simple product data feed:
Click here for a list of other attributes you can use in Google Merchant Center. Now that you have your Product Data Feed ready, you can choose to upload the file directly via the Data Feeds Page or upload it to your website and set a regular schedule for Google to download the file from your website and upload it to your account.
Easy peasy! Now your products can enjoy the attention they deserve whether on Google Product Search, Google.com or even on Mobile Product Search and Google Shopper for Android. Don’t fret if you don’t see your listings right away, it takes several weeks for your items to be reviewed if submitting for the first time. Remember to regularly update your feed to reflect new items and to keep abreast with changes in the Merchant Center. Bookmark and follow the Google Commerce Blog to stay a step ahead.
Do you submit your products to the Google Merchant feed? If so, have you noticed any difference in traffic levels to your listings/store? Share your thoughts and experiences below!