Google, the leading search engine, is always on the brink of new inventions and changes. And now is no exception. Starting this fall, Google Product Search (once upon a time called Froogle) will be discontinued and will become Google Shopping. The name change, however, is not what has many current users worried. Google’s decision to shift their free product listings model entirely to an all-paid model comes as a surprise to many.
Why is Google shifting to a commercial model?
Google aims to simplify the shopping process by building relationships with merchants and creating a better shopping experience for users. This means encouraging merchants to take advantage of the product listing features through Google AdWords and as a result generating “higher quality data” to drive more traffic. Transparent, quality data will allow customers to eliminate additional steps in their purchasing cycle. Users will be able to research products, compare prices and connect directly to merchants through Google’s Shopping Listing Ads. Google believes that by implementing a cost-per-click (CPC) model for product listings, they will be better able to monitor the quality of information and provide more trustworthy data.
What does this mean for current users of Google Merchant Center/Product Search?
Those who have used Google’s free listings will now have to shift to Google AdWords, in addition to their Merchant Center account, if they want to continue listing with Google. If merchants want to remain part of Google’s Shopping search engine they will need to pay.
How is Google getting merchants on board?
Hoping to entice merchants and smooth the transition, Google is offering the following incentives:
- All merchants that create Product Listings Ads by August 15 will receive 10% credit for their total PLA spend through the end of the year
- Existing Google Product Search merchants will get a $100 AdWords credit if they fill out a form (found here: https://services.google.com/fb/forms/shoppingcoupon/) before August 15
Google Trusted Stores program
To improve the quality of customer service, Google is implementing the Trusted Stores Program. Merchants qualify for this program by meeting certain shipping and customer services performance metrics and are rewarded with the Google Trusted Store badge to display on their Web site. These badges will reassure customers that only the best merchants are part of Google Shopping network.
Furthermore, Google will also offer customers a chance to opt in their Free Purchase Protection Program. This program will allow customers to resolve issues with retailers with Google’s help. Learn more about this program here: http://support.google.com/trustedstores/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1669901
What Google Shopping Listings will look like:
How individual product listing details might look like on the sidebar:
“Today’s changes are a first step toward providing technology, tools and traffic to help power the retail ecosystem, “said Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management for Google Shopping.