Google Merchant Center is a tool provided by Google where you can upload your product information to be used in the Google Shopping results.
The Merchant Centre has been a great way for businesses to get details of their products infront of those people who are actually looking to buy, we’ve had clients successfully using it since 2007 when it was known as Google Base.
Changes to PAID inclusion
Unfortunately Google have announced that the whole service is moving from free inclusion over to a paid model. For US companies this is coming towards the end of this year (2012), luckily for us, companies in the UK have a little longer – likely until Christmas time (but no exact announcement has been made on the dates here, I will update you all here on the blog when I find out more).
Now this has positives and negatives. If you have used Google Shopping for your own personal shopping then you will likely have come across various frustrations with it – such as products being advertised via Google Shopping at a price that doesn’t actually exist on their website. As a paid for service this kind of thing is less likely to occur, so the change could lead to more people using the service as the results will be more accurate and kept up to date by the merchants (as they are paying for the privilege of using it).
What can I do to prepare?
Well you can already use the Google Product Ads service to test out what their new paid for offering will be like. We have a number of free £50 adwords vouchers available to our clients which you can use towards your Product Ads (unfortunately only valid when you sign up for a new adwords account).
If you are getting sales coming through Google Shopping then it is a good idea to assess how the change to paying for these leads will affect your business.