The Ultimate Guide to Implementing Google Shopping on Magento

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If you use Magento and would like to easily make your products available to potential buyers and have more control over your product listings on Google, then you’ll need to set up a Google Merchant Center and a Google Shopping feed. Google Merchant Center allows you to upload your product listings to be used in Google Shopping, Google Product Ads, and Google Commerce Search. When doing a search on Google, there is a Shopping tab that you will see; these products are uploaded to Google Merchant. In order to advertise your products on Google Shopping, you will need to purchase Product Listing Ads with Google, a paid service where you will pay per click when advertising your products on Google Shopping. Although this post is geared towards Magento, the instructions herein may apply to other eCommerce platforms as well. 

Getting Started

First things first, you will need to create a Google account so you can connect your site to Google.

Then, you will need to provide basic details about your business in Google Merchant. These include:

  • Business display name
  • Website
  • Business address
  • Primary contact
  • Technical contact (optional)
  • Customer service contact (optional)

Verify Your Website

After you have added a website to Google Merchant, you will need to verify that you are the owner.  There are a few different steps you can take to verify your website:

  • HTML file upload
  • HTML tag
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Tag Manager

HTML file upload is the most common method used by Google Merchant users. All you will need to do is upload an HTML file directly to your server and Google will verify that file exists in the specified location. In order to remain verified, do not remove this HTML file from the server, even after you have verified your account.

HTML tag is adding a meta tag to your homepage. To use this method, you will need to be able to edit the HTML code of your site’s index page. With this method, you will need to keep the code on your site to stay verified

You can also use Google Analytics to code to verify your site. To use this method, you must be an administrator of the Google Analytics account and you must be using asynchronous tracking code. This code is only used to verify your website URL ownership, no GA data will be accessed.

The last option is to use Google Tag Manager to verify your site. You will add the GTM container snippet to your website, which requires “View, Edit, and Manage” account level permissions in GTM to set this up. This method is only used to verify website ownership, no GTM data will be accessed.

Our team finds the HTML file upload the easiest. Google Merchant will provide you with a file that you need to add to the root of your site. You access that file and verify it in Google Merchant. Then you are all set.


Submitting a product feed to Google

Google merchant product feeds

A product feed is made up of a list of products and attributes of those products organized in such a way that each product can be displayed or advertised in a unique way. A product feed will usually contain a product image, title, URL, description, stock status and product attributes. Google Merchant requires specific attributes in order for it to be approved by Google and added to the shopping feed.

In order to connect your products to Google Shopping, a feed will need to be generated from Magento to Google Merchant. Feeds can be sent in either a text format (.txt) or XML (.xml). There are several product feed extensions offered for both Magento 1 and Magento 2 that will easily allow you to create feeds that you can use for Google. Our two favorite Magento Google Shopping Feed extensions are the ones made by Rocket Web and Wyomind

Once you have the extension installed on Magento, you will need to generate your feed. It will require some setup and each extension will vary slightly but you will need to follow Google’s requirements so the feed can get approved.

Basic product data

The product information that is submitted to Google is the foundation of your shopping ads. Be sure that everything you submit is of a quality that you want your customers to see.

Attributes with their corresponding descriptions

  • id – The unique identifier of your product Required
  • title – The name of your product Required
  • description – The description of your product Required
  • link – The landing page of your product Required
  • image_link – The main image’s URL of your product Required
  • additional_image_link – The URL of an additional image for your product Optional
  • mobile_link – Your product’s mobile-optimized landing page when you have a different URL for mobile and desktop traffic Optional

Pricing and Availability

The following attributes define the price and availability of your products. This information is displayed to your potential shoppers on your shopping ads.

Attributes with their corresponding descriptions

  • availability – The availability of your product Required
  • availability_dateThe date a pre-ordered product becomes available for delivery Optional
  • expiration_date – The date that your product should stop showing Optional
  • price – The price of your product Required
  • sale_price – The sale price of your product  Optional
  • sale_price_effective_date – The date range during which the product’s sale_price applies Optional
  • unit_ pricing_ measure – The measure and dimension of your product as it is sold Optional (except when required by local laws or regulations)
  • unit_pricing_base_measure – The base measure for pricing of the product Optional (except when required by local laws or regulations)
  • installment – details of an installment payment plan Optional (Available for Brazil and Mexico only)
  • loyalty_points – The number and type of loyalty points a customer receives when buying a product Optional (Available for Japan only)

Product Category

These attributes are used to help Google determine what type of products you are selling so that Google can better connect your ads to relevant search queries.

Attributes with their corresponding descriptions

  • google_product_category – The Google-defined product category for your product Required (For Apparel & Accessories, Media, and Software),  Optional (for all other products)
  • product_type – The product category that you define for your product Optional

Product Identifiers

These attributes are used to define your products on a global scale. When Google is able to understand what you are selling, it can help boost your ad performance by adding helpful details about the product.

Attributes with their corresponding descriptions

  • brand – The brand name of your product Required (For all new products, except books, movies, and musical recording books), Optional (for all other products)
  • gtin – The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) of your product Required (For all new products with a gtin assigned by the manufacturer).  Optional (for all other products)
  • mpn – The Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) of your product Required (Only if your new products does not have a manufacturer assigned gtin),  Optional (for all other products)
  • identifier_exists – To be used if your new product doesn’t have a GTIN and Brand or MPN and Brand Optional

Detailed Product Description

These attributes are submitted will help what customers usually search for. These attributes are used to help potential customers filter by attributes in Google Shopping.

Attributes with their corresponding descriptions

  • condition – The condition of your product Required
  • adult – Indiciate a product includes secually suggestive content Required
  • multipack – The number of identical products sold within a merchant-defined multipack Required (For multipack products in  Australia, Brazil, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US), Optional (for all other products and target countries)
  • is_bundleIndicates a product is a merchant-defined custom group of different products featuring one main product Required (For bundles in Australia, Brazil, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US), Optional (for all other products and target countries)
  • energy_efficiency_class – The energy level of your product Optional (Available for EU & CH only, may be required by local laws or regulations)
  • age_group – The targeted demographic for your product Required (For all apparel items that target Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US as well as all products with assigned age groups), Optional for all other products and target countries
  • color – The color of your product  Required (For all apparel items in feeds that target Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US as well as all products available in different colors), Optional (for all other products and target countries)
  • gender – The targeted gender of your product Required (Required for all apparel items in feeds that target Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US as well as all gender-specific products), Optional (for all other products and target countries)
  • material – The fabric or material of your product Required (if relevant for distinguishing different products in a set of variants), Optional (for all other products)
  • pattern – The pattern or graphic print of your product  Required (if relevant for distinguishing different products in a set of variants), Optional (for all other products)
  • size – The size of your product Required (Required for all apparel items in the Apparel & Accessories > Clothing and Apparel & Accessories > Shoes product categories targeting Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US as well as all products available in different sizes), Optional (for all other products and target countries)
  • size_type – Your apparel product’s cut Optional (Available for apparel products only)
  • size_system – The country of the size system used by your product  Optional (Available for apparel products only)
  • item_group_id – ID for a group of products that come in different versions (variants) Required (Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the US if the product is a variant), Optional (for all other products and target countries)

Shopping campaigns and other configurations

These attributes are used to control how your product information is displayed when you create Adwords advertising campaigns.

Attributes with their corresponding descriptions

  • adwords_redirect – A URL that includes tracking parameters to help you understand traffic to your landing page Optional
  • excluded_destination A setting that you can use to exclude a product from participating in a specific type of advertising campaign Optional
  • custom_label_0  – Label that you assign to a product to help organize bidding and reporting in Shopping campaigns Optional
  • promotion_idAn identifier that allows to you match products to Merchant promotions  Optional (Required for Merchant Promotions in Australia, France, Germany, India, the UK and the US)

Shipping

The following attributes can be used together to determine accurate shipping information for your products. Potential buyers rely on the shipping costs to help make decisions if they want to proceed to your website or not.

Attributes with their corresponding descriptions

  • shipping – The shipping cost of your product Required (Australia, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the US),  Optional (for all other target countries)
  • shipping_label The label that you assign to a product to help assign correct shipping costs in Merchant Center account settings Optional
  • shipping_weightThe weight of the product used to calculate the shipping cost Optional (Required for carrier-calculated rates, a table based on weight, or a rule based on weight in your account shipping settings)
  • shipping_lengthThe length of the product used to calculate the shipping cost by dimensional weight Optional (Required for carrier-calculated rates in your account shipping settings)
  • shipping_width The width of the product used to calculate the shipping cost by dimensional weight  Optional (Required for carrier-calculated rates in your account shipping settings)
  • shipping_height The height of the product used to calculate the shipping cost by dimensional weight Optional (Required for carrier-calculated rates in your account shipping settings)
  • max_handling_time The longest amount of time between when an order is placed for a product and when the product ships Optional (US only)
  • min_handling_time The shortest amount of time between when an order is placed for a product and when the product ships Optional (US only)

Tax

This attribute helps provide accurate tax costs for your products on your ads.

Attribute with its corresponding description

  • tax – The sales tax rate in percent of your product Required

For a more detailed list of these requirements, please check out Google’s product data specification document. 

After the feed is generated, you will need to submit it to Google for review.

Submitting the Feed to Google

Before you can upload your feed, you will need to register the feed with Google. To get started, go to the Feeds section under the Products tab in the Merchant Center. Click on the plus button in the primary feed section to create a new primary feed. Fill in all the necessary information such as: Target Country, Language, Primary Feed Name, Input Method, and File Name.

There are three different options that are accepted for Input Method. The first method is most likely what you will choose if you use a feed generator in Magento. That option is a scheduled fetch. With a scheduled fetch, Google with fetch your feed directly from your server via HTTP, HTTPS etc. The other two options are Upload or Google Sheets. With the Upload method, files will need to uploaded directly to Merchant Center va SFTP, FTP, Google Cloud Storage or manually. The last method, Google Sheets, can be used by sending Google the data in a Google Sheets template.

After all the information has been entered, you will be able to view and manage your feed in the Feeds section of your Merchant Center account.

Google feed errors and troubleshooting

After the feed has been submitted, you will be able to download a CSV report explaining the errors and warnings. The report with display individual items and their feed errors and warning. Located under Products, you will also be able to view consolidated issue reporting for the product data across your account, feeds and items in the Diagnosis page.

The most common problems we have seen are missing information missing from products: images, price mismatch, missing attributes, etc. All of which are easily fixed by updating the product in Magento and running a new feed.

For more detailed information, see Google’s page about troubleshooting your feed, here.

Google shopping feed tax configuration

Tax information will need to be entered into Google Merchant so customers can receive accurate tax information when viewing the product on Google. The following instructions are for US only. The tax will need to be entered for each state, where your store collects tax.

When logged in to the Merchant Center, on the page menu you will see a Tax section. Select that option so you can configure the tax. There are three options you will see when you go to configure the taxes:

  • Don’t configure tax at the account level
    • You will select this if you charge taxes in the US but set up tax only through the tax attributes
  • Configure no nexus for all states
    • Select this if you do not charge taxes in the US
  • Configure tax and set up nexus
    • Select this if you do charge taxes in the US

If you chose to configure tax and set up nexus, you will need to add specific states where you charge tax. Click Add State and select the state you wish to add tax. Then, set the tax rate for each state. Be sure to save the settings so they are in effect.

If there are some products that have a different tax rate or that is tax exempt, submit the tax attribute for that product. The value that you submit for the tax attribute will override any account tax setting for that product.

Google shopping feed shipping configuration

The shipping will need to be set up the same way your store offers shipping on your website. The costs that you submit to Merchant Center must match the costs that you charge on your website. If it is not possible to get accurate shipping rates, always overestimate the cost. Customers would rather see a lower cost on checkout than a higher one.

First, you will need to create a new shipping service. To do so, click on the Shipping tab on the page menu, then click on the plus button to create the new shipping service. You will need to enter in a service description. This is where you enter the basic details of the service, such as which target country it applies to. Next, you will need to select the affected products. This is all the products that this shipping service applies to. You can either select All Products if it applies to all products or you can select specific products. The last step is to add the shipping cost. To set up the shipping cost, you will create a table based on 1 or 2 dimensions, such as weight or cost.

After the shipping is set up, you can check your shipping cost and tax rate that will be displayed in your Shopping ads. To view this information, click on the Products tab on the left then click on List in the page menu. On the List page, click the title of a product to see various details about it. Scroll down to see information about shipping (and tax).

That’s it! Your product feed should be ready to go. Confirm there are no problems with your feed in your Google Merchant account and Google will handle the rest!


Shopping Feed Customer Reviews

Google Customer Reviews is a program that allows you as a store owner to collect feedback from customers that have purchased products through your website. The rating from these customers can be seen on Search Ads, Google Shopping and an optional badge can be added to your website.

The Google Customer Reviews program has 4 main features:

  • Google Customer Reviews opt-in: This is an offer that appears to all customers who have checked out through your website. Users that decide to opt-in may receive an email from Google Customer Reviews asking them to review and rate their experience with your online shop.
  • Google Customer Reviews badge: This is a badge that optionally can get added to your website that helps customers identify your store with Google. This badge will display your seller rating of 1-5 stars.
  • Google Customer Reviews survey: A survey is an optional, brief questionnaire that allows customers to rate their purchase experiences with your website.
  • Seller Ratings: An aggregate score that will be displayed in search ads, Google Shopping as Customer Review badges.

Google customer reviews setup

Google Customer Reviews will need to be enabled before you can start using it. To do so, click on the 3-dot icon in the upper right corner in Google Merchant Center. After it is enabled, you will need to add some code to your website.

Opt-in Integration

The opt-in integration is a required step for the Google Customer Reviews to work properly. The opt-in integration lets Google display customer reviews opt-in on your site and offers surveys to customers who have opted into the program.

Your shopping cart and checkout pages must be hosted on the same domain, the confirmation page must be hosted on your own domain and  <!DOCTYPE HTML> must be added to the top of every web page. Once that is confirmed, you will add the following code snippet to your order confirmation page and customize the variables as needed.

<script src=”https://apis.google.com/js/platform.js?onload=renderOptIn” async defer></script>

<script>
 window.renderOptIn = function() {
   window.gapi.load(‘surveyoptin’, function() {
     window.gapi.surveyoptin.render(
       {
         “merchant_id”: “MERCHANT_ID”,
         “order_id”: “ORDER_ID“,
         “email”: “CUSTOMER_EMAIL“,
         “delivery_country”: “COUNTRY_CODE“,
         “estimated_delivery_date”: “YYYY-MM-DD
       });
   });
 }
</script>

Badge Integration

Optionally, you can display a badge on your website to display your participation in the Google Customer Reviews program. This badge will display your seller ratings on your site.    

Add the following code snippet to all pages of your website. After the code has been added, verify the badge appears on your site. Note: If there aren’t any seller ratings available, the message “no ratings available” will display.

<script src=”https://apis.google.com/js/platform.js?onload=renderBadge” async defer></script>

<script>
 window.renderBadge = function() {
   var ratingBadgeContainer = document.createElement(“div”);
   document.body.appendChild(ratingBadgeContainer);
   window.gapi.load(‘ratingbadge’, function() {
     window.gapi.ratingbadge.render(ratingBadgeContainer, {“merchant_id”: MERCHANT_ID});
   });
 }
</script>


Now that you have Customer Reviews set up, go start collecting reviews!

Google Merchant Center is a great tool for Google Shopping, Google Product Ads and Google Commerce Search. Try it with your store and see how it improves your revenue!

 

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