Are you looking for a new place online to sell your items? Are you searching for a platform where you can make money online without paying a single cent for registration? Then you came to the right place! Because today, we are going to talk about Google’s very own online shopping site.
Welcome to another review here at Smart Start Affiliate! We’re going to look into the fusion of Google Express aand Google Shopping which is an online marketplace that might or may not have an edge over the others.
Curious to know about it already? Then let’s start!
You might just have heard of Google Express and you were not able to experience its features as online marketplace. Unfortunately, it’s already discontinued but Google has a good news for you too.
The features of Google Express reportedly lives on through Google Shopping.
Google Express once was poised to beat Amazon, but while Google is known as a tech giant and the king of search engines, it just didn’t work for them on e-commerce. How ironic when they know all the rules to become number one on SERPs.
But anyway, some of its features are still available on Google Shopping. So you can still make money online with Google through selling stuff.
But the question is, how is it better than dedicated e-commerce websites like Amazon or eBay?
Let’s find out the pros and cons of starting your online selling business with Google Shopping!
GOOGLE EXPRESS AND SHOPPING OVERVIEW
Summary: Google Express used to be an online shopping app which partnered with thousands of brands and retailers to post their listings in the said platform. It served as Google’s high profile attempt to compete with Amazon but several years after launch, it failed and is now defunct. In September Google announced the integration of Google Express with Google Shopping allegedly as a part of its new move to improve online shopping.
Product Name: Google Express/Google Shopping
Product Type: Ecommerce platform
Price: depends on the settings you choose on Google Merchant and Adwords
Recommendation: Using Google Express which is now revamped as a part of its bigger bro called Google Shopping can be worth it. As you know, Google is a high influencer on shopper’s decision when buying online. So don’t you think you’ll get more credibility points when you appear on Google Shopping? I think so too. So if you aren’t on Google Shopping yet, you might want to put your products there today but costs may be high depending on the visibility you want online.
WHAT IS GOOGLE EXPRESS AND GOOGLE SHOPPING
Google Express was a part of Google’s attempt to overthrow Amazon as the world’s largest e-commerce platform. Like Amazon, it created virtual mall where retailers, brands, nd resellers can market their products and services.
The app featured big names in the shopping scene like Best Buy, Walmart, Walgreens, and Target among thousand others. And people were able to shop conveniently because it was accessible through the web, the mobile app, and Google Assistant.
Google had placed so much effort in developing Google Express that they even partnered with Walmart, Target, and more for voice-enabled and personalized shopping. But even after several years of operation, the Google Express service was shut down. Apparently, it was a flop with their customers buying directly from their partner retailer’s own apps.
Announcing its integration with Google Shopping earlier this year, did it really make a huge impact on improving the shopping service of this tech giant? Did it make selling more profitable?
Well, Google Shopping is powered by Google Ads and Google Merchant Center. The service lets entrepreneurs sell their products directly on Google which, if you let logic decide, should be a huge advantage as they re on the good side of the king of search engines.
Another advantage of being on Google Shopping is that sellers can advertise their products in a more efficient way, again, because it’s Google that they are directly paying so logic says, they are top priorities.
However, this doesn’t work like Amazon where clicking through ad-based results will take the shopper to your product description saved on your Amazon store. You will need to make your own e-commerce site or probably a social media business page where your listings are and where shoppers can check out their items.
Overall, the user can only read the ad and click the link. Shoppers need to be redirected to see customer reviews too which could have been more advantageous to you as a seller if it was already there, attracting more shoppers to choose you over your competitors who are also on Google Shopping.
One more disadvantage is that there’s only one image on the ad so you’ll have to think of a photo that will really catch the attention of shoppers and it should be unique. Plus, customers would want to see more photos so they can visualize the product before they buy it. If shoppers want to see more photos, they should follow the link indicted on the Google Shopping ad so they’d be redirected to the original listing.
For this reason, many would visit e-commerce websites instead.
GOOGLE SHOPPING - HOW IT WORKS
Visibility on Google Shopping isn’t that complicated compared to trying to rank for freeform content where quality and keywording are the deciding factors. On Google Shopping, products can fall under different categories so you will have to be wise when it comes to choosing which categories your items should fall into. Here, keyword research will help.
What are these group of shoppers searching on Google? How do they usually search for shoes or pants on Google?
When you figure it out, then these keywords can be your guide to choosing categories. Of course, there are the basic categories there for different items. Google is wise so categories are changing. For example, you are searching for women’s shoes.
To make it easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for, Google included several subcategories to filter out what they don’t need. Do you need a training shoe? Do you need a running shoe? You can even be specific with the brand.
The problem is, Google tends to be a bit dim-witted when it comes to some queries. Taking this “women shoes” for example again. What if he shopper is looking for a formal shoe? What if she’s looking for a sandals? Google only picked sneakers and rubber shoes for this result hence shoppers who need otherwise will need to be very specific with their queries. In other words, Google is still applying its obsession to keyword ranking on Google Shopping.
So for sellers, you should categorize your items to its most specific classification like:
Women’s shoes>sneakers>Nike>training shoes>etc
Women’s shoes>formal shoes>heeled>open>wedding>Amazon
But you have to take note that your efforts in finding the right keywords and categories should be backed up by a BUDGET – a budget to buy clicks.
Before we get deeper into details about the ads and traffic, let’s first teach you how you should get started on Google Shopping.
Sign up for Google Merchant Account
Google merchant is used by many online sellers. This is their way to get their items visible on Google. In short, you need an active and running online store you can integrate with Merchant Center. It works the same way with Amazon but the advantage of the latter is that it can let you sell certain items on its marketplace without having to open your own website.
Signing up only takes a few minutes to finish. You will just have to sign in your Google account where you want to manage your business from, leave your business details and filling up other information. Once you’re done, you can now add products, then choose where and how you want your offerings to appear across Google platforms.
When you are adding your products from your website, make sure that they have product titles, descriptions, SKUs, pricing, stock/inventory, and other important details that any product listing should have.
TIP: When you are running a big e-commerce store with a lot of products, there will always come a time when you will need to update your product title and pricing or even your whole inventory and it will be a pain to redo reupload products one by one again on Google when you have to. Consider using a tool that can sync changes from your store to your Google Merchant Center account so that Google won’t be confused and flag your site for false or confusing listing.
Adding products through Shopify
If your shopping website is based on Shopify then setting up your Google Shopping listing should be a lot easier for you. Shopify has a ready Google Shopping integration which syncs your Shopify listing and updates on Google so it won’t require so much effort.
Another impressive thing about Shopify’s integration feature is that you can indicate exactly where you want your ads to appear. This way, you can dictate your desired audience, making it easy for you to target the right users.
As for customizing your products, you can do it by selecting your target market or setting categories. Like I mentioned earlier, you can categorize your shoe product according to gender or age.
Adding Products Through WooCommerce
WooCommerce integration is more complicated than Shopify. You will need to install a plugin like Product Feed Pro for WooCommerce before you can sync your listing on Google Shopping.
To put the listing on Google Shopping, you can simply click on the Product Feed Pro and start creating your product listing. later, you can customize fields and prefixes.
Now, if you are not on WordPress and currently using Magento, you’ll have to get a Google Shopping extension which my cost you $50. But this will be greatly helpful if you don’t want to do extra work of shifting everything from Magento to WordPress or manually inputting your products on Google Shopping. The extension has the same functionality as Shopify, making syncing and uploading of products automatic.
Import Your products to Google Merchant
After making your product feed on your e-Commerce site, the next thing you’ll do is to import them to your Google Merchant account. In importing your products to Google Merchant, you will be asked for basic information like the country your business is based, language, and the ecommerce platform you use.
Label your product feed on Merchant Center and “Scheduled fetch” for connecting the data to your Merchant Center account. Finally, you will just have to copy and paste your product feed URL from your ecommerce platform. Paste this link on the “File URL” field on Merchant Center and set a frequency for fetching feed from your website. Now you should be able to see the feed in your Merchant Center interface.
Linking Google Merchant Center and Google Ads Account
Google Shopping Ads help your products get featured across Search Engine Results and Shopping Results. And being featured at the very top helps you get more conversions than your organic strategies. So consider having a Shopping Ads account and link it to your Merchant Center.
Linking these two are easy since they are both Google services. You just have to go to the “Shopping ads setup” on your Merchant center account and click “Link your account.”
You will then be redirected to another page where you only need to click the “Link” button on your Google Ads account. A “link” request will then be sent to your Google Ads dashboard which you only need to confirm.
And making money online selling on your website and on Google Shopping at the same time can be as simple as that.
Google Shopping is a way for you to boost your product listing’s visibility online and in the past years, it has proven to be an essential platform in driving more sales for your eCommerce businesses. To site a few proofs of its power, Sears coming to Google Shopping was able to boost its traffic rate by 12% while its CTR increased by 16%. Making it simple, every $1 investment they make in ads generates $8 and more of sales.
So is it worth it? Definitely!
While you can achieve the same success story by paying for ads, you can still optimize your listing further. When you optimize your product feed, you should focus on these three sections:
- Product categories
On Google Shopping, keywords help but you are not here to directly bid on them. So signal your relevance by strategically placing keywords and contextual information throughout the three sections above. Titles naturally should include keywords. Be creative while being strategic.
For example, selling a woman’s shoe can be titled “Studded Wedge Shoes for Women – Formal Parties.” Almost all relevant keywords a shopper would search for appears in this title including the style, type, gender, occasion.
Do your keyword research too so that you can include competitive keywords in your title and product description. But while there are only very few chances where you can use the keywords you want to target, you can get very specific with your targeting by setting categories.
While you don’t have much room to work with, it allows you to get more specific with customizable products. Meaning you can show up for dozens of searches based on just a few product variations.
Another tip I’m giving is to add descriptive factors based on search phrases that are relevant to your item. Let’s take the studded shoes again as an example. In your product description you can add more details like 3-inch wedge heel, or blue swarovski-studded wedge shoes with 3-inch heel, or wedged shoes for debut.
You have to avoid spammy promotional lines, though, on your product feed titles like “Big Discount” or “Free.” You can only add “Special offer” tags to specific products.
Pick The Right Category
Product categories can be broad or very specific. You will have to choose the right category so that Google will find you relevant. Otherwise, it will trash you from the search altogether.
The category can be general like “Shoes” or “Apparel.” Specific categories can be “Shoes>Women>Adult>Wedge>Party” or “Shoes>Women>Adult>Women>Rubber>Walking.”
But here’s the catch. While you become relevant to specific shopping queries, your exposure becomes limited to that very specific category only. This is why some others don’t go too specific. They choose only 3 levels of categories so they can appear on more searches.
For example, setting your category to “Shoes>Women>Adult,” you can appear to searches like women’s shoes, ladies formal shoes, girl’s party shoes, or high heeled shoes.”
Then again, here’s another catch. When you make your product category very specific, your traffic will be more targeted so conversion will be higher.
To see what will work for your specific product feed, you can experiment on both, setting some of your products on specific category while others are set on general categories.
Optimizing Product Images
Product images are very important in online shopping as they serve as shoppers’ reference on what they are buying. They make crucial contribution in convincing people to buy. And besides, they are your first selling point in your ad.
Try to be unique and creative in your product image. But remember to make the product the main focus. Make it visible. Avoid unnecessary texts or logo in your product image. Avoid reusing photos of the original seller if you are just a reseller and take your own photos of the product.
TIPS ON NAILING YOUR GOOGLE SHOPPING CAMPAIGN
If it’s your first time creating a Google Shopping campaign, it can be a long process since you have to integrate your store with Merchant Center and your Merchant Center with Shopping Ads. But once you’ve set them on auto sync, the next campaigns shouldn’t be that arduous.
After setting up your accounts, you just have to create a new campaign now on your Google Ads account. Set your campaign objective and choose the right campaign subtype. This will impact what type of ads will show up and where so take time to reflect on this part.
Next is to select the right merchant center whether you want to use a smart campaign or standard campaign. What they are? Let’s find out.
Smart Shopping Campaign
Choosing smart campaign will place your ads all across Google services. This way, you can maximize your conversion value. This means your ad will show to everyone and not only those who have purchase-intent. Who knows, they’ll get attracted with your ad and grow that intent to buy in that very instant.
Standard shopping campaign
Standard shopping campaign, on the other hand, will let you pick your products, bidding, and your targeting. In choosing this option, your ads will only show up on the Google Search Network . These ads re called Google Shopping ads.
Google will automatically generate the ad with details based on your product feed. Meaning, you won’t have to create ad creatives or copies so it will be very convenient for you. All you have to do is to wait for some conversions to happen.
GOOGLE SHOPPING VS AMAZON AND OTHER ECOMMERCE
Google Shopping has some advantages over Amazon and Amazon also has its own advantages over Google Shopping. The main competition comes in the placement of ads on search engines.
First things first. Google Shopping ads only appear on Google but Amazon’s ads will appear on Yahoo, Bing, Firefox, and other existing search engines, making your products visible to more people. So when it comes to reach, you’ll win on Amazon.
Meanwhile, shoppers on Google can ask specific questions so they can get to the most relevant recommendations. Also, you can get more web traffic with Google Shopping as your ads here will take shoppers to your own ecommerce site. Meanwhile, shoppers on Amazon stays on Amazon and won’t be directed to your website.
Hence, this will help you boost your website’s visibility and accelerate your sales conversion.
It goes the same for other marketplaces like Ebay and Etsy.
GOOGLE SHOPPING - PROS AND CONS
1. Increases your product quality
Being featured on Google gives shoppers the impression that your product is of high quality. Plus, your ad will come in a unique format that’s proven by Google to attract buyers and generate sales.
2. Higher click-through rates
With ad elements strategically arranged by Google (images, title, description, customer reviews), you can see higher higher click-through rate when compared to text ads in shopping searches. This can help you make more money online.
3. Increased Web Traffic
As I’ve mentioned, your ad on Google Shopping will lead shoppers to your very own website where they will check out their item. If they are just looking around, you will still get traffic and even capture leads as the ads only show preview of your listing and will need to visit your listing on your site for full details.
1. High Competition on Popular Categories
A lot of sellers want to be on Google and most of them sell very similar products. Unlike Amazon where it encourages entrepreneurs to come up with their unique products, Google Shopping caters to thousands of resellers who often post similar photos. Their titles and descriptions are often similar too making shoppers look for the one with the lowest price offer. Competition is really tight that others find it hard to make money.
On the other hand, selling products under categories that are not popular will also lead to wasted investment.
2. Google Algorithm Applies
Google puts emphasis on your website’s quality rather than your ad. Algorithm still applies so if you can’t make Google happy, then don’t even start entering Google Shopping. You will need to make efforts to ensure your site’s quality to help boost your performance on Google Shopping.
3. Relatively Expensive
Cost-per-click and pay-per-click campaigns can be expensive for beginners. While Google Shopping is free, there will be expenses on Google product listing ads. However, by investing, you can get quality leads you can tap for your future campaigns.
GOOGLE SHOPPING - IS IT WORTH IT TO SELL IN THIS ECOMMERCE PLATFORM?
Google Shopping plays an incredibly influential role in ECommerce. As people highly trust Google, being in its shopping platform will be highly beneficial for you as a merchant. You can add this to your other campaigns on social media and email to meet your goals.
To get the most of Google Shopping, you should allot some budget on your ads. It can become expensive but your investment will surely get high returns. Remember to fix your website’s quality too since all Google ads will take shoppers to your website. Make the investment count so check your website’s design and responsiveness.
A relatively cheaper alternative to Google ads is launching your own affiliate program. If you market your own brand, you can use affiliate marketers to promote your items to targeted audience.
Affiliate marketing is an effective way to market your items. Bloggers will be the one to strategize to help you make sales so they can make commission. So it will be a win-win for both the merchant and the affiliate. It has been my business for over a decade now with Wealthy Affiliate as my main program at present. For years, I have been making multi-figure on commissions so imagine how much sales I generate for a merchant.
So if you think Google Shopping Ads isn’t for you, then you can try other digital marketing means like affiliate marketing.
Overall, investing on Google ads can be on your advantage.
marketing and advertising. By adding it to the varying other methods of promotion such as Social Media and Email Marketing, merchants creating an online store can add an entirely different layer to their marketing initiative as a whole. Getting the most out of Google Shopping requires a tremendous amount of effort and dedication, but the value is exponentially more powerful in growing E-Commerce sales.
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