Merchants Need to Act on Google Shopping Now

As Google Product Search morphs into Google Shopping later this year, a pair of industry experts said merchants need to get on board with the changes before they go into effect.

While Google Product Search was based on search engine optimization, a merchant’s placement in Google Shopping will be based on how much a company spends on pay-per-click ads and search engine marketing. After Google Shopping officially launches, merchants will list their products in a commercial model built on the Google Product Listing Ads program.

Will Devlin, ecommerce manager for ecommerce platform provider ShopVisible, said Google Shopping will certainly impact merchants, especially small and medium-sized companies.

“Many clients of ours tell us 10%-15% of their revenue comes through Google Product Search,” Devlin said. “Now to keep or grow traffic, they’ll have to pay for it.”

Daniel Yen, CEO of recorded DVD seller MovieMars, said Google Shopping will reduce a lot of excess noise and consumers won’t be bombarded by a zillion options because the quality of listings will go up.

Yen said that pay-per-click campaigns are extremely challenging and difficult to make work, and how Google lays out its fee structure will be important.

“Everyone in media is listed on Google because it’s free, but this will pare those listings down quickly,” Yen said. “It will almost make it untenable for media payers to be on the site. A level of management resources will have to be applied to it. With Google currently, you don’t need to think about that.”

Devlin agreed with Yen, saying Google Product Search is pretty hands off once the feed is set up.

“It was good to go and you were getting that traffic,” Devlin said. “Now it will be a separate management thing. Merchants should hop on now in terms of testing, especially for the small- and medium-sized ones. Now is the time people should start testing to see if it’s worth it.”

Devlin said the potential is there for Google Shopping and it will “weed out the riffraff” while the results should be better.

“If folks stick with it, it can be a positive,” Devlin said. “The initial reaction was there won’t be anyone on it and they’ll migrate to Bing. That probably won’t happen. People will still spend the money.”

Yen said Google Shopping will force sellers to immediately review historical sales to see what’s been selling, see where their margins are, and determine what can be listed profitably.”

“Look at data and what is exactly selling through Google, and pare down the list of products offered.” Yen said.

Merchants who can make the metrics work and get the listings loaded and be profitable despite Google’s fees will benefit “inordinately because they’ll gain that much more visibility.”

Devlin urged merchants to not wait until the last minute because Google Shopping will be up and fully running in October.

“Don’t wait until September if you’re going to participate, especially if you’re making a significant chunk of money in the fourth quarter,” Devlin said.