The retail sector has been facing difficult times over the years and it has intensified during the coronavirus pandemic. In the wake of the current challenging situation, Google announced from now the listings of products will be free in the Google Shopping Tab in search results.
Explaining this decision, Bill Ready, President of Commerce at Google cites the fact that it is difficult for struggling businesses to pay for Google shopping listings at this time.
“And as consumers increasingly shop online, they’re searching not just for essentials but also things like toys, apparel, and home goods.
While this presents an opportunity for struggling businesses to reconnect with consumers, many cannot afford to do so at scale.”
Before this announcement, the merchants used to pay Google whenever a customer visited their website through Google product listing but not anymore. Google made this attempt to expand in e-commerce to compete with Amazon Inc as it drives more consumers online due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Launching Free Listings initiative
Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc will enable merchants to list on Google Shopping service free of cost. Google witnesses hundreds of millions of shopping searches on its platform every day.
This change will take effect in the U.S search results by the end of April and aim to expand globally by the end of the year. The rollout will begin next week where search results on the Google shopping tab will consist primarily of free product listings.
With physical stores temporary shut doors, digital e-commerce is the lifeline for small and struggling retailers. The company states that many retailers have the items in stock and ready to ship the products that people need but are not easily discoverable online. That is where Google is trying to bridge the gap and is looking to address with this move.
- What’s in it for Retailers?
Free exposure to reach millions of potential customers that visit Google every day for their shopping needs.
- What’s in it for Shoppers?
This will ensure the discovery of more products and more stores via Google’s Shopping Tab. Existing members of Merchant Center and Shopping ads can start directly with their free listing. For new users, Google is trying to streamline the onboarding pretty soon.
A Merchant Center account is compulsory to publish free product listing.
- What’s in it for Advertisers?
Paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.
New Partnership with PayPal
Google has kickstarted with new PayPal to allow merchants to link their accounts and speed up the onboarding process.
PayPal joins the existing partners including, Spotify, Woo Commerce, and Big Commerce.
Other Key Changes
Google specifically states that Google Shopping will consist “primarily” of free listings. This means they are still accepting paid listings and will receive notable placement at the top of the Google shopping tab.
The attempt of free listing can affect advertising revenue but this decision is made from a long term perspective as more merchants will start using Google Shopping.
Google free listing will show up in the less popular search tab, compared to the Product ads that will appear on the main page.
Solutions in the time of crisis are not about easy or fast but how to provide relief to struggling businesses and lay groundwork for a better and healthier retail ecosystem.