In the last 8 weeks, the world has been turned upside down. Major sports seasons were cancelled, summer concerts were cancelled, you can’t see or hug your friends, and business as we know it has been put on hold.
Many industries are completely shut down, but if you’re in ecommerce you can still do the vast majority of your job from home. The opportunity is massive.
US Bank released the percent of all retail transactions that happen online and ecommerce sales jumped from 16% in 2019 to 27% in April 2020. That’s an incredibly steep incline. There’s a massive demand for online shopping.
The trick is getting users to your site before they go to Amazon or Walmart. Luckily, a new service makes it easy to attract a whole new audience. A few weeks ago Google Shopping announced that they’re now allowing merchants on their platform even if you don’t pay for ads. In this post, we’re going to show you how to connect your WooCommerce Store to Google Shopping and list products on their marketplace.
What is Google Shopping?
If you’ve ever typed in the name of a product or type of product into Google, you’ve likely seen Google Shopping even if you weren’t familiar with the name. Let’s say you’re stuck at home and you’re looking for a 2 player board game on Google. You’ll see Google Shopping in two places:
The first is right beneath the organic search results. You’ll see:
- A product image
- Product title
- Star rating
- The online store where you can buy this product
And sometimes you’ll see even more. If you’re looking for clothes or paint you might see a filter for color and extra contextual tools.
The second place you’ll see Google Shopping is on the “Shopping” link at the top of the page.
If you click this shopping link, you’ll see the full Google Shopping view.
This view shows us Google Shopping ads at the top followed by a list of products. You can click on any of these products to get more information and then visit the store who sells the product to checkout.
Google Shopping is Now Free
As mentioned earlier, Google Shopping is now free. That means if you have any type of online store you can upload your products and have them show up in the shopping results.
What’s great about Google Shopping is it’s still wide open. A few big retailers with a Google ads strategy are already on their platform but many small retailers are not, which means yours could be one of the few products in a search making it more likely you’ll be able to make the sale.
Connecting WooCommerce to Google Shopping
Google Shopping works with any online store if you manually upload a CSV file or create an XML feed for your product information. Which is great but I’m lazy… and I’m guessing you are too. 🙂
We’re going to use a direct integration between WooCommerce and Google Shopping. You can choose the official Google Product Feed ($79/yr) on WooCommerce.com or use one of the free plugins on WordPress.org.
Since we’re in the middle of a pandemic let’s go with one of the free plugins, Product Feed Pro, so you can get the most bang for your buck – of course, if you need help setting up the plugin or have advanced needs the official plugin is likely a better choice for you.
Create a Google Merchant Account
The first step is to create a Google Merchant account. This will let you configure settings related to your store such as shipping, taxes, and a target country.
Once you create this account, add your store’s website and verify it using one of the methods Google suggests. If you already have Google Analytics installed and configured it only takes a few button clicks to verify your store in Google Merchant.
Get a Feed URL
In your WordPress admin you should be able to find your feed URL. Each plugin will do this a little differently. I had to create a feed, assign it as a Google Shopping feed, and map WooCommerce fields to Google Shopping fields. It took less than 5 minutes and even if you don’t know what you’re doing it will probably only take 10 minutes.
Once you’re done you should see your feed URL.
Add Product Feed to Google Merchant
Now we can add this feed to Google Merchant.
- Choose Products from the admin menu
- Click on “Create Product Feed”
Then you’ll see a page where you can configure your feed.
- Select your target country and language
- Click continue
- Name your feed – I recommend the name of your store
- Configure a “Scheduled Fetch” so Google checks your store for product updates periodically
- Enter the name & URL of your file
Continue filling out the details for your product feed (we won’t show all of them here). Once you’re done you should see your feed under Primary feeds.
And if you click “View products” after waiting a few minutes you should see your products.
Note: this took maybe 10 minutes and I only uploaded two products. If you uploaded hundreds or thousands it could take much longer.
Enable Free Display
You might assume that any products you upload are automatically going to be displayed in Google Shopping. You actually have to enable this.
- Begin by clicking Get Started
- Fill out tax & shipping information
- Add a link to your refund policy
- Add a link to your shipping policy
The tax information is pretty easy since Google can determine that for you. Filling out the shipping information will take a few minutes.
Google Merchant has to process your feed and verify that your products have the correct information, so you may want to come back and do this step the next day.
And now if you search for your product it should show up in Google Shopping. Pay day!
Strategies for Google Shopping
Getting listed in Google Shopping is now relatively simple. From here you can do some keyword research and optimize your listings so that you show up before your competitor.
But before you dive down the SEO rabbit hole, let me give you a simple piece of advice. Google Shopping is a very visual service. Make sure you have great product photography. If your competitors have clear, clean, and appealing photography it doesn’t matter if you rank slightly above them. Your audience is going to click on your competitors listing.
Now is a great time to reshoot some products and touch up the primary image for each product. With a huge population stuck at home all day, every day, now is the time to get in front of those people. If you don’t make it easy for them to find you they’ll turn to Amazon or Walmart. So get out there with your products and grab a slice of all that brand new online shopping activity.
Getting traffic from Google Shopping is great. You can also get more traffic through organic search by speeding up your store. See how much Hostdedi can improve your store with our 15-day performance challenge.
Patrick Rauland is obsessed with ecommerce. He’s built ecommerce websites for clients, worked for WooCommerce doing support, development, product management, and helped plan their yearly conference (WooConf).
Patrick is also the co-founder of WooSesh, an online conference for WooCommerce developers and store owners.
Patrick lives in Denver Colorado where you can probably find him at a local coffee shop typing away.