No one would say that the coronavirus crisis has brought any good. But it has unchained a series of movements, aiming to placate the damage this pandemic is inflicting upon our society and its economy (and we’re not just talking about the miraculous early release of Hamilton by a year and a half). Starting today, it will be free for e-commerce owners to upload their catalogues on Google Shopping.
Google Shopping is reconverting their pay-to-play model, and integrating it into a free format
This service was launched by Google over fifteen years ago, and it was originally named Froogle. Then went on to be called Google Product Search, and finally, in 2012, it adopted its definitive version and name: Google Shopping. Along with this last morphing, Google announced a new pay-to-play model: the search results would only be determined by relevance, but by how much merchants paid for their products to appear on the site. The decision was controversial, since small business owners were afraid (rightly so) they wouldn’t be able to compete with big companies, which had a much bigger budget to invest in publicity, including Google Shopping.
The decision has been undoubtedly prompted by the paradigm shift we are living, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. Online commerce has gained an unprecedented importance. Consumers have gone from online shopping for comfort to do it for safety. Both big and small businesses have seen their doors closed to the public, so having an online presence is not a matter of generating profits anymore, it is about survival for thousands of businesses all around the world.
Partnership with PayPal, and other regular partners
Google has announced a partnership with PayPal, that will allow users to link their accounts and accept online payments, making the process easier particularly for small surfaces and vendors. Besides this association, Google Shopping has renewed its bows with other e-commerce developers, such as Shopify or WooCommerce (we told you all about its last version recently).
Small news for a big launch
Google Shopping’s mechanic will remain essentially the same, the main difference being that consumers will have access to a broader catalogue. For vendors, the registering process is quite easy: once the catalogue is uploaded on Google Merchant Center, the products have to be approved (even though it is free, there are still a number of requirements to meet). From then on, the rest is fairly intuitive.
Google Shopping will keep a payment option for those advertisers who wish to use it to promote their products. So financial capability will remain a defining factor when it comes to positioning a product on the search results. However, the new free format levels the field for those companies that can’t or don’t want to pay to appear on the search catalogue, since the results will show up, at least in part, organically.