On Monday, October 17, Google announced its official partnership with three of the most popular e-commerce platforms. It is now possible to export new or existing products directly to the Google Merchant Center from Magento, PrestaShop or BigCommerce. According to Google, it was never easier to submit products to Google Shopping and the Merchant Center.
How does it work
Google published three setup guides to help you connecting Magento, PrestaShop and BigCommerce with the Merchant Center. The initial steps are quite similar for all three platforms, so I just summed it up into these six steps:
1. Make sure that no required product information is missing!
Take care of all mandatory information like GTIN, Description, Title or the Google Product Category. Attention: this information is essential! If some mandatory attributes (this is how Google calls it) are missing, your Product Feed will get rejected. If you need more background information about the Product Feed and the attributes, you can find everything you need to know in our Google Shopping Compendium!
2. Install the Google Shopping App for your e-commerce platform.
Depending on the platform you use, the steps might vary. Make sure you follow the instructions correctly. Here are the links to the official apps and the corresponding setup guides from Google:
3. (Optional, only needed if you’re new to Google Shopping and never used the Merchant Center before): Create a Merchant Center account and manage your linked account.
4. Map and import your items
Sometimes, not every product in your store matches correctly to the Google Shopping feed specifications. Like step 3, this is essential for a working product feed. Therefore you can use an attribute mapping page of the previously installed Google Shopping app. You can now correct wrong or missing information via a drop-down menu and adjust the mapping.
5. Register your product feed
After you made sure that you have a valid product data feed, register it in your Google Merchant Center account. Normally you would do it like this: Press on plus-button and follow the instructions in the guide. But using the official apps makes it a bit easier. You can now upload the feed directly from your e-commerce platform. Just use the corresponding function for it. In all of the three platforms, you’ll find an “E-commerce” section, where you can select and upload your feed to the Merchant Center.
6. Set up a Google Shopping campaign and review your data
After uploading your feed you can now start a new Google Shopping campaign. Don’t forget to optimize your campaign, as usual, especially the bid management.
Try the first and only tool specially designed for Google Shopping!
Using a single app for connecting your favorite E-commerce platform to Google Shopping? Sounds great! But there are some disadvantages which you should consider.
According to the first feedback of users, there are two notable obstacles if you use the new Google Shopping apps:
- It seems like that all of the apps have problems with additional non-mandatory attributes.
- You can’t use more than one feed at the same time.
Another nice functionality is the easy-to-use mapping of your products. But do you have the time and resources of mapping your whole assortment? This could soon get out of hand if you have several hundred or thousand products.
Are these new apps the dead of other feed tools?
Definitely not! At the current stage of development, the use of these Google Shopping Apps is not a replacement for services which focus on feed optimization or an import/export function. It may be a good starting point if you have never used Google Shopping before, but you’ll soon realize that the limitations are very strict.
Although Google presents some success stories of early adopters, we don’t believe that you would be satisfied by the current functionality of the Apps. Problems with the Product Feed are always at the top of the agenda if you’re using Google Shopping. Also, you can’t do any feed optimizations or control the structure of it. But especially a well-structured feed can have a huge influence on your campaign performance.
My first thoughts after reading the official Google announcement were: “Oh, this might be the dead of a lot of small tools and plugins that focus on product data feed.” But if you take a closer look at it, all these apps which promised a simplified connection to your E-commerce platform are just low-level solutions. If you’re already familiar with Google Shopping, think twice before using it. At the moment, we recommend it for beginners. If you’re an experienced user, you might be disappointed.