Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak, the retail sector has taken a big economic hit worldwide. Most countries have shut down physical stores, and implemented total or partial lockdowns in order to contain the outbreak of COVID-19. As a result, online commerce has become the go-to solution for these retailers. In fact, online revenue for some industries has almost doubled in the last couple of months.
With people spending most of their time at home and practising social distancing, they are increasingly shopping online. They are not only searching for essential items; instead, they are also looking for toys, beauty products, at-home hair removal products, apparel & home goods. For instance, Facebook has reported that their daily average users on some days had reached 1.73 billion users.
In light of all these things happening around the world, Google has taken an extraordinary decision to assist smaller online retailers who cannot invest significantly in digital advertising. Google has officially made it free for merchants to sell on Google Shopping. This means that these online merchants now have the opportunity to scale their business online by publishing their products on Google Merchant Centre for free.
As with all Google listings, the real trick is in being able to optimise your listing in order for it to be one of the first few products shown, and not on page 5. So the normal rules of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) apply to the Google Shopping listing as well.
Google initially announced that this feature will be first available for United States merchants only; however, recently Google launched this feature worldwide. Merchants from all over the world can now showcase their products on Google Shopping for free.
Google Shopping could be one of your primary sources of traffic and sales because, over the past 2 years, Google Shopping has grown substantially, it has been reported that Google Shopping revenue has shown a growth of 29% YoY as compared to Google Paid Search Ads which has grown by 13% YoY.
Google Shopping also accounts for the most number of clicks on Google Search If you are searching for a product you are most likely to see a shopping listing first before a search listing. This is another big reason why you should set up your Google Merchant Account. Another reason to sign up for Google Shopping is that you get an opportunity to expand your organic reach on search engines and increase your e-commerce store traffic.
However, in order to rank higher on Shopping listing, you will need to work on your product-specific SEO.
With Google making it free for everyone, it means it also increases the competition among merchants. Previously, merchants with a big advertising budget were getting all the benefits, now everyone has an opportunity to get their products showcased. However, nothing comes easy, and this applies here as well. With more competition, all merchants need to work hard on improving their online store’s SEO, website speed and all the other factors that Google considers, before they rank a listing on their search engine. Depth of content on your product pages and appropriate keywords are some of the priority areas to update.
In order to set up your account, you need to sign up on Google Merchant Centre and upload your shopping feed. While creating your shopping feed, make sure you follow all the policies in order to get it approved. Once approved, your products will start showcasing on Google Shopping results.