Google Shopping to allow merchants to list products for free


(IANS) In a major step to push e-commerce amid COVID-19 restrictions, Google on Tuesday said it is advancing its plans to make it free for merchants to sell on Google.

While listing of products on Google Shopping is set to become free, businesses may still have to pay Google if they wish to promote their listings.

“Beginning next week, search results on the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free product listings, helping merchants better connect with consumers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google,” Bill Ready, Google’s President of Commerce wrote in a blog post.

These changes will take effect in the US before the end of April, Google said, adding that it aims to expand this globally before the end of the year.

For retailers, this change means free exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs.

For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Google Shopping tab.

For advertisers, this means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.

“If you’re an existing user of Merchant Center and Shopping Ads, you don’t have to do anything to take advantage of the free listings, and for new users of Merchant Center, we’ll continue working to streamline the onboarding process over the coming weeks and months,” Ready said.

As part of these changes, Google is also kicking off a new partnership with PayPal to allow merchants to link their accounts.

This will speed up Google’s onboarding process, it added.

“And we’re continuing to work closely with many of our existing partners that help merchants manage their products and inventory, including Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce, to make digital commerce more accessible for businesses of all sizes,” Ready said.

“Solutions during this crisis will not be fast or easy, but we hope to provide a measure of relief for businesses and lay the groundwork for a healthier retail ecosystem in the future,” he added.

Google Shopping has been around for nearly two decades, but the platform was the centre of a historic 2.4 billion euro fine from the European Union in 2017 allegedly for abusing its dominant position to favour its Shopping links in search results over competing price matching services, The Verge reported.

But the new initiative should make Google Shopping more accessible at a time when the retail sector has faced many threats, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

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