If you’re serious about ecommerce and making a success of your business, then there’s something that you really can’t ignore. Google Shopping. More and more people are turning to this service to boost sale and give themselves a higher business profile. In this handy guide we’ll tell you all about Google Shopping and how to use it.
Summary: 5 Minutes read, Level: Advanced
The service of Google Shopping isn’t a website you visit and it’s something you will be aware of without even realising it. It is based on what are known as Shopping Ads. These are the small square pictures which are advert that appear in the results when you’ve used Google to perform a search. Have you seen them? There are anything from four to eight of them which also have the retailer information and price attached.
You might think that this was just a handy search result for when you search for a product. After all, a lot of people search for a product with a view to buying it. Google are well aware of this and it’s all targeted. Now, what would you say if I told you that your ads could be appearing in other people’s search results? Excellent, I know. Read on to find out how you can make it happen.
There are three steps you’ll need to follow before you can start your own Google Shopping campaign. Nail these and you’ll be well on the way.
This is the first thing you’ll need to create. It might sound complicated, but it’s surprisingly easy to do. You won’t actually need to do anything if you’ve got someone to look after your IT needs for you. Even if you have to do it yourself and you’re not particularly knowledgeable, don’t worry.
You’ll need to export your product list in the form of a data feed. This will be done in a special file format and will need to include product information such as price, brand, availability and an origin image (it’s important not to use stock images as they can harm you later on down the line).
It should all be relatively simple, depending on which ecommerce platform you use. There are a number of plug-ins available to help you and there are plenty of guides. If all else fails there are instructional videos on YouTube which will guide you through the process step by step.
Google Merchant Centre, or GMC, is there to help you use the data which you have created with the formatted file from your ecommerce site. GMC will guide you through the process and then you will be able to update any data as your inventory changes. It is important to have the mot up to date data possible on your GMC. New data is important to Google and failing to update regularly could also harm you in terms of hits.
It sounds like going straight from step 1 to step 3 would have been easier, but alas, it doesn’t work that way. GMC will act as a middle man to the whole process. It will help you out by monitoring your feed, assessing new data and making sure that all formatting is correct.
In order to link these two accounts together you will need to send an approval request from GMC to AdWords. Once this is accepted you’re ready to get started for real with Google Shopping.
Once all of the three previous tasks have been done – it can take anything from minutes to hours – then you can get started. You will be doing everything from this point in your AdWords account. Firstly you must start a new campaign. Go to ‘all online campaigns’ and click on the blue ‘+ campaign’ button and then choose ‘shopping’. There are a number of set up options which are all fairly self explanatory and these must be completed in order to continue.
At this point you could start your Google Shopping campaign immediately if you wanted. Everything is in place, so why not? Just wait.
At this point every item would have exactly the same price per click. This isn’t an issue if absolutely all of your items and products have exactly the same price, but it’s unlikely that that will be the case. Starting your campaign now could cost you money. Don’t think for one minute that someone wouldn’t immediately discover what appears to be a heavily discounted item and snap one or more of them up.
Then you should go to ‘all products’. Here you can set the individual prices for each item in your inventory, as well as separating all stock into individual subgroups for ease of keeping tabs on things. These subgroups cannot be changed without deleting the lot and starting again once they are saved, so double check that everything is correct before proceeding.
Now you can activate your Google Shopping campaign. As with everything Google, it’s incredibly easy to see what’s happening thanks to a detailed interface. You can see the number of conversions and sales you have at any given time.
You should check regularly to ensure that you’re offering the best deals. You can always go into your account and adjust aspects of your campaign such as price and availability manually, rather than relying on the information coming from GMC.
And that is how you can get your business on Google Shopping in a nutshell. If you follow all the steps in this guide you’ll be up and running in next to no time. Some of it might seem a little complicated, but there are means of help in place on all the sites as well as YouTube help videos. And the best thing is, you only need to set up the once. After that it takes complete care of itself and you can watch as sale after sale adds up.