In a surprising reversal, Google will allow retailers to list products for free on Google Shopping starting April 27. The news of free listings included an announcement of a new partnership with PayPal to help new merchants get up and running faster.
Google’s President of Commerce Bill Ready, formerly PayPal’s chief operating officer, detailed the development in a blog post April 21, positioning it as a relief effort for the retailers ensuring Coronovirus economic woes.
“With hundreds of millions of shopping searches on Google each day, we know that many retailers have the items people need in stock and ready to ship, but are less discoverable online,” Ready said in the Google blog post.
Is this a Froogle reboot? The jury is still out on how this new option will compare, but SEO and online retail communities are looking forward to seeing this play out. The hope is that the service will give a meaningful boost to merchants looking to ensure their organic product listings have a fighting chance against paid placements and Amazon.
Google will continue to sell Shopping ads that will appear above the free listings. Paid product ads also will appear on the main Google search results page, while it looks like free listings will only show up in the less-popular Google Shopping search tab.
“If you work with the ecosystem, there will be monetization opportunities that come on top of that,” Bill Ready, Google’s commerce president, told Reuters on April 21, adding that Google is counting on a surge of new customers will offset lost ad revenue.
At a minimum, retailers without a digital presence will have a new digital outlet to sell inventory – ASAP. Google says it is working with e-commerce inventory management companies such as Shopify to ensure companies that operate mostly through their existing websites can quickly shift to Google Shopping.
Google fast-tracked the change, which reportedly was in the works to combat Amazon’s increasing search dominance for organic product listings. It’s a brilliant move in these uncertain times that should build goodwill, help retailers in troubles times, take a swipe at Amazon, and increase awareness for Google Shopping in general. Definite A for effort to Mr. Ready.
The change should help Google – and one would think retailers – compete against Amazon in Organic product search results.
Google said it would launch first to U.S. merchants and then expand globally by year-end.
How to get started?
Visit Google for Retail, and if you already have an account, opt-in to the free listings by selecting Growth>Manage programs in the left navigation menu and select the surfaces across Google option.
If you do not have an account, follow the onboarding guide to sign-up and then opt-into the free option. Add products to your product feed, to make products discoverable in these free listings.
If you decide to opt-in, let us know how it goes at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll work through the process and monitor it carefully in the coming weeks so we can report back on our findings.