It’s no secret that conversions are dipping in numerous industries thanks to the current pandemic. In light of all the chaos, e-commerce business owners got a nice little surprise: it’s now free to sell on Google!
Both the retail and e-commerce sectors have been struggling because of COVID-19. Many industries have seen dramatic drops in both traffic and sales – so this opportunity to sell on Google could be a huge gamechanger.
Google is far and away from the most popular search engine globally. Considering the fact that 87% of online shoppers begin their search through a digital channel (including Google), it is a pretty smart move for all e-commerce business owners to take advantage of this.
But there are some things you need to know to get the best results from Google Shopping.
Let’s dive in.
1. Understand The Pros And Cons
While Google Shopping is certainly a powerful sales channel, nothing is perfect.
As with most e-commerce strategies, there are benefits and downfalls. Furthermore, it is not recommended that you only use Google Shopping in an effort to save yourself money from operating a website. Google Shopping should be a supplement to your current online store.
Let’s go over the advantages first.
One of the clearest benefits of using Google Shopping is extremely wide reach. According to recent research, Google Shopping and its paid ad program generate about 16% of all e-commerce sales.
Having your items featured through this channel also allows you to compete with brands across the country at the top of the SERPs. Customers can also place filters or organize products by price. You can even promote any sales or available promotions. This can be incredibly beneficial for targeting cost-conscious customers.
Now, let’s go over the downsides to Google Shopping.
In some cases, it could deter traffic from your website if people purchase the item directly through Google. Typically, your Google Shopping ad will direct people to the product page on your website unless you choose to sell directly through Google.
Google bases organic item search results on your keywords rather than product data (which is used for ads).
Google will automatically pull the keywords deemed most relevant from your title and product descriptions – you do not have control over which ones they choose. This means your keyword research on your e-commerce site needs to be top-notch and cover all your bases.
Finally, placing your products on Google Shopping can make you a small fish in a huge pond. After all, you are now directly competing with major brands and retailers from across the globe – many of whom may be able to beat you out based on price, ratings, or quality.
However, in most cases, the pros really do outweigh the cons. And now that this option is free, there is really nothing to lose – so why not give it a shot?
2. How to Get Started
The first step to selling on Google is to update your keywords for each product page.
As we mentioned before, you do not select the keywords for your Google Shopping listings yourself. So, your keyword research strategy for webpages needs to properly optimize titles and product descriptions beforehand.
Start by auditing your current keywords and assessing metrics like:
- Search volume
- Keyword CPC (cost-per-click) value
Some of your basic keywords (like the name of the product or the color) will obviously need to be included. If there are additional descriptive keywords or longtail phrases that you can incorporate naturally, it can help your Google Shopping listings to be more successful.
Next, you will need to create a Google Merchant account.
You can connect with any Google account (such as a Gmail or Google Analytics account) to get started. You will then be prompted to enter business information like your company’s name and website.
From here, you will need to choose your programs. There are four available options:
- Surfaces across Google
- Local surfaces across Google
- Shopping ads
- Shopping actions
For e-commerce selling purposes, you will likely want to select “Surfaces across Google”. This will show your product listings on the Shopping tab, Google Images, and the Search Index in the countries or regions that you want to sell to.
Currently, Google Shopping is only available within the United States, but there is a good chance international selling will be available by 2021. You may also want to include Shopping Ads – but we will discuss how to create those later on.
Now, you can upload the products you want to be featured on Google Shopping.
Some e-commerce platforms including Shopify, Woocommerce, and BigCommerce have plug-ins available to automatically upload your product information to your Merchant account. You can also select your products manually.
To do this, you will select “Products” then “Feeds” from the Merchant Center menu. You will then register a new primary feed, which will prompt you to enter information like the country of sale, language, and destination.
Next, you will need to fill in the product information. It is recommended that you use the Google Sheet form that is automatically provided. This is essentially a spreadsheet where you can copy and paste in product attributes. This is also where you will include an image link.
Next, you will need to categorize your products – and Google will want you to be very specific. They have over 6,000 category options available!
Once you have filled out this information, your products will appear on the organic search results.
The ability to sell on Google is pretty easy! It’s just a matter of dotting all your I’s and crossing your T’s.
3. Taking Advantage of Google Ads
Google Ads are not free. But they can supplement your strategy and help you sell on Google with much more visibility. Google Ads are placed at the very top of the SERPs and use select product information rather than keywords.
To create and manage these ads, you will need to connect your Google Ads account to your Merchant page. Simply select the “Shopping ads setup” from your Merchant account menu and then click “Link your account.”
From here, you will select a link and sign-in to your Google Ads account.
You can launch a new campaign by selecting the blue plus-sign button under “Campaigns” in your Google Ads menu. Next, choose Sales as your campaign objective and then select “Shopping” as your campaign subtype.
Then, you will select your Google Merchant center and choose a smart or standard campaign.
Smart campaigns give Google’s algorithm more control over who sees your ads. Standard campaigns allow you to select which products and targeting specifications you want to run.
If you run a standard campaign, you will need to input your budget and targeted location.
There is also an option to use Showcase Shopping ads, which allow you to present multiple products – primarily used on mobile devices. Since nearly 54% of eCommerce purchases are generated from phones, this is an ad-option you will want to consider.
You can select this option by going to your current campaign and selecting to create a new “Ad Group.”
Next, select “Showcase Shopping” and enter your bid. You will need to create an ad by selecting the primary image that will be shown on the SERPs. You will want this to reflect more of your brand rather than a specific product, so an image with a model or a collection of items is typically best.
You can track your ad performance by selecting the “All campaigns” tab in your Google Ads account. From here, you will see important metrics like the number of clicks, average cost-per-click, and even the percentage of exact matches for your ad.
This option to expand your online store to Google Shopping is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up. It can certainly help to turn things around if your traffic or conversion numbers have taken a hit due to COVID-19.
If you have any questions about optimizing your e-commerce marketing strategies to better sell on Google, please reach out to our team at E2M Solutions. We would be happy to discuss your online business and see how we can help make it even better.