Google Shopping: how it works and why to use it

Among the various tools that those wishing to see online have at their complete disposal is Google Shopping: simply search for a product of interest on the search engine to get, as a result, a series of tabs with images, prices and suppliers just like any online store.

Yet, Google Shopping is not an online store at all; on the contrary, it consists of a very interesting advertising opportunity that, if used perfectly, can bring a large number of results.

What is it and how does Google Shopping work

Google Shopping is a search engine in the search engine that allows you to search, find and compare any type of product. Introduced by Google itself in 2012, over the years it has ranked among the best tools to use to greatly increase online sales.

A first fact to point out is that Google Shopping, despite appearances, is not an online marketplace but a space specifically reserved by Google for both sellers who want to advertise their products and users who prefer to compare different proposals from various websites before making a purchase.

Google Shopping is included in Google Ads, with the difference that does not involve advertising text or illustrated ads, only sharing standard data taken directly from online stores that allow users to receive all necessary information about the product such as picture, price, retailer’s name, and shipping costs.

What’s interesting is that Google Shopping listings place products at the top of Google’s SERP, so they reach millions of visitors; that’s why it’s crucial that the information is clear, concise and comprehensive at the same time.

By the way, taking advantage of Google Shopping is really very simple: online retailers send free feeds containing information about their products and pay only when a user clicks on the website or completes a purchase directly on the ecommerce. Considering that the information is taken from the retailer, it is practically updated in real time (so discounts and promotions are immediately displayed).

As a result, Google Shopping allows those retailers with a good online reputation to be able to place their products at the top of search engine results at no cost (at least initially), which also proves extremely beneficial in economic terms.

Why use Google Shopping

What has been said so far makes it clear how attractive using Google Shopping can be, but the main reasons why any retailer should consider it can be summarized in the following points:

  • each seller “exploits” the notoriety and reliability of the Google brand, which is trusted by virtually the whole world;
  • products appear at the top of the results offered by search engines, so they will be among the first to be displayed and, most likely, clicked on;
  • products are sponsored in an eye-catching way, much more so than standard ads, and immediately provide all useful information;
  • initial placement is totally free and you only pay at a later time, that is, when a user lands on the website or buys directly on the ecommerce.

Simply put, not taking advantage of such a sales tool in today’s environment equates to a great loss in terms of money and visibility.

Google Merchant Center: what it is and how to use it

We turn, now, to the hands-on management of products placed on Google Shopping, which is done through Google Merchant Center: it consists of a dashboard that allows you not only to edit the information you have already entered, but to monitor it in all the other tools Google offers like (besides Google Shopping) Google My Business and Google Commerce Search.

Signing up for Google Merchant Center requires having a Google account and an AdWords account and takes place on After verifying the URL of the site and connecting the Merchant Center to the AdWords account, the product data is sent and made available for Google Shopping through special feeds.

Data feed into Google Shopping

More specifically, the feeds sent to Google Shopping are data containers, indeed, a list of all the products you want to sell through the Google tool. It must be made in a precise format, provided and requested by Google itself so that it can read and understand it, and include certain attributes that identify each individual product:

  • ID: uniquely identifies the product;
  • titolo: the product name;
  • description: a short text that appears when a user clicks on the ad;
  • product category: you can choose from the various predefined options proposed by Google;
  • product type: it is defined by the seller;
  • link to the article page on the website;
  • status: available or not;
  • price;
  • selling price.

It will not be necessary to enter the text of the ad, as required by traditional search campaigns, since it will be automatically generated using the data in the feed.

At the same time, to get high conversation rates, you will need to familiarize yourself with the CPC process (for those who have already used AdWords it is quite simple). But that’s not all: Google pays close attention to the completeness of the data and the presence of quality images, as well as:

  • to a catchy title;
  • the timeliness of the product;
  • alignment of the feed with the product URL.

In short, although Google Shopping is quite autonomous in presenting products to users, it certainly does not fail to reward and appreciate retailers who take care of their feeds in detail.

How much does Google Shopping cost

As mentioned initially, Google Shopping is totally free at first. Subsequently, the payment takes place following the CPC auction procedure (ie cost per click), therefore it is the retailer himself who determines how much a click costs (according to him) for a specific search.

The principle is very simple: the higher the bid, the greater the chance that the product will be placed in a prominent position, i.e. as high as possible in the search results.

Furthermore, costs are very dependent on the competition and are usually around 10 to 15% of the cost of sale. To achieve, improve or lower this value, you need to focus on presenting the product in the ecommerce itself; users, in fact, do not make a purchase depend only on the price, but also on the whole idea they get of the brand by visiting its online shop.

In any case, Google Shopping is highly recommended for any seller or reseller aiming at online business, who wants to grow, make themselves known and, above all, increase their long-term earnings.