Google Shopping: Good or Bad for E-commerce?


The rise of online shopping has paved the way for businesses to start e-commerce website which catered to a more immense market that’s not limited to the area where their business is located in. From clothing to home accessories and furnishings, the usefulness of online shopping can never be understated but it can also overwhelm most consumers with the multitude available in the online market. This is where Google comes in.

In a recent post on their blog, they announce that they’ll be rolling out Google Shopping on mobile in the U.S. Here’s what you need to know:

What is Google Shopping?

It’s one of Google’s services that enable webmasters and marketers to display their products inside Google Shopping’s massive list that users/consumers can use to search for, compare, and directly buy their desired product from the website of their choice.

Google Shopping was formerly known as Froogle back in the early 2000s which served as their products search engine which was changed into a paid search product advertising closely related to Google Ads in the early 2010s. However, they decided to bring back the free product search just recently. Google Shopping is also optimized to be filtered by category, prices can be compared from different shops, and reviews for this particular product is also displayed in the Google Shopping product page. This is what it looks like on mobile:

Jacket shopping

Image from Google

That’s the example used by Google, but when I used my phone to check, here’s what it looks like:

Google Shopping Products Feed Screenshot

See the difference? Since the new Google Shopping roll out is only released in the U.S., I believe it will take some time for other countries to use this feature. My current feed in Google Shopping also had a small Sponsored icon on the top-right and when clicked on, shows this prompt which informs us that the feed I’m seeing is all ads:

How to Put Up Your Products on Google Shopping

Putting up your products on Google Shopping is easy enough since you only need to set up product feeds on Google Merchant Center and incorporate apply the corresponding structured data markup to your product pages. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Set up your Google Merchant Account
  • Choose the “Surfaces across Google” when you reach the “Choose the programs that fit your objectives” page

Google merchant center set up page screenshot

  • After setting up your account, you’ll be taken to the overview page of Google Merchant Center where you’ll be notified that you have a pending task for Surfaces across Google. Click on the “Continue” button to proceed.
  • You’ll be taken to the Surfaces across Google information set-up page. Click on the “Add product data” part to start filling up your product feed. Click the “+” sign on the “Primary feeds” part to start.
  • From there, you can now set-up your product feed! It’s as easy as that.

product feed set up page screenshot

Is Google Shopping Good or Bad?

Here’s the thing: I’ve mentioned that online shopping can be overwhelming for the average consumer – especially if a multitude of products are displayed at one time. However, with Google Shopping, business owners/webmasters are stuck between choosing to lessen their prices to make their products more attractive to the users that see it while still ensuring that they gain a decent profit from putting up their products in Google Shopping. 

Since there’s now a free option for Google Shopping, I recommend you put up your products there. You have nothing to lose except the time you consume when you put your products on Google Merchant Center, so this is good for e-commerce webmasters and business owners. 

However, if you want to avail the paid version, you’ll have to outbid other competitors just for you to gain upper spots in the Google Shopping feed. In hindsight, this sounds good, but if you sell products on a particular niche that isn’t searched for that much, ROI might be a little difficult to gain back.

Key Takeaway

Google Shopping has its good and bad sides, but what I recommend for webmasters is to try out the free version first and check if you’re satisfied with the results. Or if you have the money to try out the paid version, go ahead. Let the results speak for the usefulness of Google Shopping. 

In my honest opinion, Google Shopping is a massive help for the users, but does this affect the current zero-click searches issue? We’ll have to find out eventually since users still need to buy the products they want from the business’ website. What do you think of Google Shopping? Do you have experience in using this particular Google service? Let me know in the comments below!

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Sean Si

About Sean

is a Filipino motivational speaker and a Leadership Speaker in the Philippines. He is the head honcho and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. He does SEO Services for companies in the Philippines and Abroad. Connect with him at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Check out his new project, Aquascape Philippines.