There is potentially some very good news for small and local businesses coming from Google, as they announced on Tuesday (4/21) that the Google Shopping tab results will feature free products listings drawn from search results.
As a small, Hamburg-based business ourselves we’ve been actively looking for positive news, and Tuesday this week seem to present two potential game changers – Congress and the White House agreed to replenish their small business programs while Google has announced that they are expediting their initiative to make Google Shopping a free tool.
Google announced that the Google Shopping tab results “will consist primarily of free product listings” starting next week. This bid to better compete with Amazon on the e-commerce front does present some great advantages to small and local business who’ve recently been forced to close the doors of their brick & mortar shops.
The wider implications of this move can be scrutinized from a search engine optimization industry perspective – but the opportunities for small and local businesses to massively increase their product exposure cannot and should not be ignored. This is a great opportunity to start pro-actively regaining sales and customers who would otherwise avoid shopping in order to stay at home.
Getting started with Google Shopping
In order to start the process of getting your products on the Google Shopping tab you’ll need to open a Google Merchant Center account and set up a product feed.
You should also know that, as a seller, you must opt-in to “surfaces across Google” in order to be eligible for organic visibility in the Google Shopping tab. Essentially, “surfaces across Google” allows products to be shown as rich snippets and product annotations in Google Images for free.
With Google Shopping now becoming open to organic listings, this means that you won’t have to pay for every placement and click-through. By simply providing the right information, details, outlines and optimizing your products for search, you can get the product exposure you want – similar to how you’d attain website traffic through search engine result pages without being forced into paying for ad placements.
This is a great move for small and local brick & mortar businesses as costs are much less exponential when it comes to growing traffic and sales organically compared to growing through ads.
Some extra advice for local business owners
Many have taken excellent steps toward modernizing their brick and mortar business by offering e-commerce alternatives, showcasing their products online, and keeping people informed.
However, if you need help starting the process, or would like additional tips and advice, please see our article with advice for small and local businesses on minimizing the sales impact of coronavirus. It includes an excellent overview with a flow-chart helping you identify key elements to setting up a website or an e-commerce platform, even taking into account shipping or fulfillment if you can’t offer curbside pick-up.