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TLDR; Summary

Buy on Google is set to revolutionize online sales.

Selling on multiple channels is one of the best way to increase your online sales. When one of those channels is Google, it makes even more sense.

Google Shopping allows you to get on multiple Google properties from a single listing, which is controled via the Merchant Center. Unlike Amazon, the customers belong to you, so you can build your own email list, and it doesn’t cost anything to list your products on the program.

Buy on Google lets consumers buy products from wherever they are on Google including Search, Images, Shopping, YouTube, or Google Assistant. Customers can add any participating product they find to their cart — no matter who sells it — and make a single transaction for all their purchases from multiple vendors simultaneously. In other words,  Google has added a buying engine to its powerful Ads platform so that purchases can now be completed in Google. Google processes the transaction and sends the order information to the vendor for fulfillment.

The cost: free! If you are not currently listing your products on Google, this article is a must read.

Background

When I first got started selling on the internet, I worked for a software company where we were going to revolutionize the way the “Green Industry” purchased product. The Green Industry is defined in the horticulture world as landscapers, garden centers, wholesale growers, etc (never mind the fact that it also includes pesticides, fertilizers and other products that are anything but “green”).

The idea was that a wholesale buyer, such as a garden center, could visit the site we were creating and see the availability of all different plants from multiple vendors simultaneously and compare prices, availability dates, quantities, sizes, etc. They could then place a single order regardless of how many different vendors they were buying from.

For example, they might get (50) 5-Gallon Blue Spruce trees from grower A, (200) 1-Gallon Lilac shrubs from grower B, and (100) flats of Petunias from grower C (tree growers and flower growers are often different types of operations).

One order and one payment, from multiple vendors where it was easy to compare prices and quality. In some ways, this was like Amazon for plants (even though I actually created this before Amazon!) We joked that someday it wouldn’t require a website to accomplish this, that it could just be done with an app or directly from the search engine.

We were way ahead of our time. The Green Industry was made up of the “good old boys” club who weren’t interested in this convenience. But we were on the right track.

Step aside Amazon. Today, this is very much a reality as made possible by “Google Shopping” and “Buy On Google.”

How this affects your online store

Having your own online store is a great way to sell products online. Whether you use WooCommerce or Shopify your own online store allows you to control aspects of your online business that marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy do not. With your own online store you don’t pay commissions to a marketplace and the customers belong to you.

But there is a problem: you have to promote it yourself. Whether you use ads, organic traffic, trade shows, social media, or anything else. Online marketplaces bring you traffic. But now you can get substantially more traffic through Google Shopping (also known as Google Shopping Ads), much like being listed on a marketplace.

Google’s marketing portal, Google Merchant Center, allows you to promote products from your own online store and reach more qualified prospects. Basically, Google Merchant Center is a tool that allows businesses to upload their product information to Google so that it can be displayed in Google Shopping. Merchant Center lets you manage how your in-store and online product inventory appears on Google. 

Learn more about Google Shopping here or visit Google Shopping here.

How much does Google Shopping cost?

Product listings on Google Shopping are free. You’re never charged for your product showing up in a search. You only pay when a customer clicks the link on your ad, which will take them directly to the product page on your online shop. In other words, this is a “Pay Per Click” model. Here is an example.

These listings don’t just show up on the shopping tab, but anywhere on Google, including the blended search results:

Adding Products

In order to have your products show up in the Google listings, you must have a Google Merchant Center Account. From there, you can manually add individual products, or upload a “feed” that is a specially formatted file. If you have lots of products, or you inventory changes frequently, automatically uploading a file to the feed clearly makes the most sense.

To upload your product data in Google Merchant Center, you’ll first need to create a feed to which you can submit your data. This step is required for any new feed, and once a feed is registered, you can update the existing feed without having to register it again.

A primary feed is the central data source that Merchant Center uses to access and display your product data. Google recommends submitting all of your products in a single primary feed. If you need to exclude products, use the excluded destination [excluded_destination] attribute.

Google will actually crawl your site to find products in your store, but you can get better control if you create the product feed yourself.

Setting up and creating the product feed is the most complex part of this whole process, so there are plugins and apps to simplify this for you.

Plugins to Make this Happen

Google Listings & Ads is a free plugin created by WooCommerce that allows you to showcase your products to shoppers across Google. With this plugin you can:

  • Sync your store catalog with Google Merchant Center
  • Promote your products through paid ads by launching product-based Performance Max campaigns right through your WooCommerce dashboard
  • Easily list your products on Google with free listings
  • Gain insights on your listings and campaign performance: view impressions, clicks, sales and conversion by product and campaign on your ad campaigns

Performance Max campaigns feature paid ads that help you reach more shoppers across Google properties, including YouTube, Gmail, Search, and the Google Display Network. Built for ecommerce, your ads are automatically created based on products synced to your Google Merchant Center, so you don’t need to design ads.

There are several other alternative plugins built by third-parties that do essentially the same thing: create product feeds that sync with your Google Merchant Center account so you can have your products show up in Google searches. One of the more popular ones is Product Feed PRO for WooCommerce.

Shopify stores have similar capabilities using the Google Channel app or Simprosys Google Shopping Feed app.

Buy on Google

Google also offers a second option, “Buy on Google.” This program was previously called “Google Shopping Actions.” Originally, Google was using a pay-per-sale for Shopping Actions, but since rebranding, this program is now free.

This is the game changer!

Buy on Google lets consumers buy products from wherever they are on Google, be it Search, Images, Shopping, YouTube, or Google Assistant. They can add any participating product they encounter to their cart — no matter who sells it — and make only one transaction for all their purchases with ease. Essentially, Google has added a transactional layer to its powerful Ads platform so that transactions can now be completed in Google. Google processes transaction and sends order information to merchant for fulfillment.

Clearly, Buy on Google is set to revolutionize both how retailers sell and consumers shop. While the platform has been called the anti-Amazon, it is interesting (as can been from the image below), that Amazon itself is advertising on it.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • It allows you to get on multiple Google platforms at once
  • It reduces the friction that your customers experience while shopping
  • It helps you to cultivate customer loyalty
  • It lets you build an email list, and
  • It doesn’t cost anything to list your products on the program.

How to Start Using Buy on Google

Before you sign up for Buy on Google, make sure that you’re already set up with Google Shopping. You can do this at the Merchant Center. You’ll have to verify and claim your URL and upload your product data here. Once you’re done, head to Google’s Buy on Google page, scroll down, and fill in the form. Then sit tight and wait for Google to approve your application! Once approved, you’ll want to get the ball rolling on Google Shopping.

Buy on Google is a game changer for retailers. For years now, Amazon has dominated ecommerce. And because they were the only show in town, retailers had no choice but to pay up (fees, commissions, fulfillment, warehousing, etc.)

Here are the steps to start selling with Buy on Google.

Getting Help with Buy on Google

If setting up a product feed for Google Merchant Center and managing your Google Shopping advertising strategies sounds too overwhelming, don’t worry. The experts at  WebStores Ltd can help. Call us at 877-924-1414.

 

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