As the eCommerce industry grows, so does the competition for online dominance. eCommerce is now being widely used, and is growing exponentially. It is estimated that in North America, around 83% of the people have made some transaction or another online. Hence, be it a digital or physical product, online shopping is the trend these days. Google has now introduce a new service called Google Merchant Center that will help product sellers to utilize this opportunity and promote their products on the world’s largest search engine. Just as Google Places can help local business to expand their outreach, so can Google Merchant Center help merchants to effectively promote the products they sell.
What is Google Merchant Center?
Quite simply, Google Merchant Center (GMC for short, but in future references, don’t confuse it with General Motor Company :D) is a service that allows you to upload and manage products that you want to sell. These products will be accessible across various Google services such as Google Products (which is the most useful) and Google AdWords etc. If you are an online retailer who sells e-products, or just an individual who wants to sell his own products such as eBooks, tutorials etc, then you should sign up with GMC.
Previously, Google Base was responsible for handling such stuff. But now, GMC has been optimized for product listings. You can upload feeds, check item options, and see how well your products are doing. You get a dashboard where you can manage all your products and view/update their information, and check their performance graphs.
How will this help? Google has a service called Google Product Search. Online shoppers who want to buy a product can search for them on Google, and it will return the relevant product listings. For example, if you want to sell an eBook on Internet Marketing, then users will find your eBook listed in Google Product Search by going to Google’s Shopping page, and searching for ‘Internet Marketing eBook’. If your product is listed on websites like Amazon and eBay, Google will automatically fetch results from those websites for the user.
How does it work?
Selling products through GMC will require the use of Google’s secure web application, Google Checkout, which handles transactions. It allows you to charge credit cards, track numbers, cancel or refund orders, review payment summaries, specify carriers, and more. When someone orders your product, first, you sign in and review the order. You can cancel it if you find it suspicious. Otherwise, you have to charge the buyer’s credit card, after which Google will authorize the order amount. You will then have to ship the order within a certain amount of time, failing which you will lose credibility as a Google Checkout Payment Guarantee. You can mark the status of items as ‘shipped’ and let the buyers know via email.
Google has in built anti-fraud mechanisms. In any fraudulent transaction is detected, that order, along with other active orders from that credit card will be cancelled. Google also checks world wide fraud blacklists and denies any transaction from a blacklisted credit card. Additionally, you can deny any orders too if you think they are suspicious.
Setting up and promoting products
Sign in with your Google Account at the Google Merchant Center. Choose your country and agree to the Google TOS. The process is really straightforward. You will have to fill in your store information first before you can add a product. There are various attributes you’ll need to fill in for your product, such as basic information, availability, price, URL etc. Here is more information about product attributes. Once you add a product, it might not appear in the listings for a few days, even weeks. This usually happens the first time. So don’t worry. Google will update it soon enough.
Now if you want to sell our products at all, you need to keep updating them on a regular basis. Give out latest information, and the latest prices. his is very important. The eCommerce industry is very fast paced. If you are promoting products that are not your own, such as gadgets, then you’ll never sell them if you don’t keep them updated, because people will always go with the latest information and the latest, and best prices.
Drive traffic to your website to increase your chances
Now I am assuming that if you are selling products, you already have a website. Driving more traffic to it will increase your chances of making sales. Optimize your website, and create quality content to make your website appear higher up in Google searches.
Google Commerce Search
With Google Commerce Search, you can improve the shopping experience on your website by bringing speed and relevancy of your Google search to your online store. According to Google, “Google Commerce Search is a hosted search solution for your e-commerce store that leverages Google’s tremendous search expertise and computing infrastructure to deliver a superior online shopping experience at the most effective total cost of ownership. GCS works seamlessly on both desktop e-commerce sites as well as mobile sites and apps.” Hence, you can improve user experience on your website which will in turn generate more sales for you.
Use Google AdWords
You can use Google AdWords to advertise your products in a more efficient way by using product data that you provided. With AdWords, you can improve your chances of being found out in Product Searches, and hence, your products will get more exposure. Using these basic techniques, you can make your business a success story.