June 26, 2018
Google Shopping is a price comparison site that many of Channable users have connected to, to advertise their product listings. Creating an account to begin advertising your products on Google Shopping can take only a few moments. However, many Google Merchants are running into errors and issues due to Google’s specifications, resulting in products being rejected and even accounts being blocked. But Channable doesn’t want you to be one of those merchants. Therefore, Channable and Google sat down together and compiled a list of advice on how to create top quality Google Shopping feeds. It is based on the most occurring problems to ensure that you can be displayed in the blink of an eye.
To win at Google Merchant center first time round, you need to ensure you send certain Google approved mandatory specifications. You can send product information to Google Shopping with Channable in two ways: via a live API connection or with a feed. The difference between the two can be read in Channable's handy help center article. To send the right information, you can easily get an overview of the mandatory fields within Channable under either ‘Finalize’ (for Google Shopping feeds) or ‘Build > Item’ (for Google Shopping API’s). Ensuring that this information is sent to Google is fundamental, but it must also be in the right format. What? Right format?! Yes, certain information can only be processed in a Google specific way. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need to send for top quality Google Shopping feeds.
First, and foremost, it’s recommended you create what Channable coins a ‘Filter rule’. This rule will simply exclude any items that would otherwise be automatically rejected, or you simply don’t want to sell. For reasons such as there is no image link, or the price is 0. Channable rules work in descending order. So, starting with a filter will ensure that the rules that’ll follow will only be applied to items worth advertising. Much of the advice below involves creating a new field. If you’re unsure how to do this, you can familiarize yourself by scrolling to the bottom of this help center article.
|Necessary info||What exactly?|
|Image Link||Images are very important for Google Shopping, and selling online generally. We recommend you create a filter rule when you first start making rule, to exclude any items that do not have an image. For more information about specific dimensions and picture quality accepted by Google, read about it in their help center.|
|Availability||This mandatory field needs to be sent to Google Shopping in the form of either: ‘in stock’, ‘out of stock’ or ‘preorder’. You don’t need to send actual stock levels but the value you set must match the value on your website. To include this information into your feed, simply use Channable’s ‘set to value’ rule and set a newly created field to one of the three options depending on the actual stock level.|
|GTIN/EAN You’ll need at least one of these, as Google requires you have 2 of the 3 pieces of info: Brand, GTIN or MPN. There is still hope if you don’t, please check this help center article.||GTIN is the umbrella term for unique identifiers such as EANs, UPCs or ISBNs and is basically the barcode of an item. If you don’t already have this information, you can easily purchase them online or ask your distributor for them. Making them up won’t help, you can’t outsmart Google.|
|Title||This mandatory field ought to be easily found in your feed already. Make sure it describes your item well. You can even include things like the color or size with Channable’s ‘combine value’ rule.|
|Description||Similarly to the title, this information should already be easily found in your import. Alternatively, you can always build a new description by combining relevant information from your feed. Make sure your description is free from HTML jargon by using our strip HTML rule.|
|Link||This field is the URL of the products. Simple.|
|Brand||This information may already be in your feed, but it is VITAL for becoming Google Shopping approved, in conjunction with either GTIN or MPN. See the other descriptions below. If the brand doesn’t have its own field but can be perhaps located in the description, you can easily search for the ‘value’ (specific brand name) and pop it in a new field.|
|Condition||The condition of a product needs to be listed as either ‘new’, ‘used’, or ‘refurbished’ in Google Shopping. Google will default set all condition's to new if you don't specify, but if in fact you do sell used or refurbished items you'll have to communicate this to them. If this information isn’t in your feed yet, you can easily implement it with the 'set value' rule. Simply create a new mapping field from the settings and then ‘set value’ to the applicable condition.|
|Category||The second stage of creating a Channable feed/API is categorization (NB: with the API if you send known EANs, Google Shopping will automatically be able to categorize the items). The options from the drop down menu are the specific categories Google has. So, you simply need to allocate which groups of items belong to which Google product category. When you map the fields (in the finalize stage or build stage in Channable) remember to use ‘Category (internal)’. More tips on categorization can be found in Channable's help center.|
|Price||This information will be in your feed. Do not try to modify it, as the price shown in Google Shopping should match your website.|
|Shipping Price||You’ll most definitely know what the shipping price is if it isn’t already in your feed. If it’s missing, simply create a new mapping field and set the value. For example, if you offer free shipping for items over a certain price you can make a simple rule to set shipping price to zero. Simply create a rule such as “IF price is greater or equal to 50. THEN take shipping price and set to value 0”. You can always set shipping options within your Google Merchant account, more information can be found in Google's Support article.|
|MPN/SKU You’ll need at least one of these, as Google Shopping requires you have 2 of the 3 pieces of info: Brand, GTIN or MPN. There is still hope if you don’t, please check this help center article.||A stock keeping unit (SKU) or a manufacturers number (MPN) is a more internal method of identifying items. If you don’t have this number, but you do have a GTIN you can still advertise with Google. If you have neither, you can still send your items to Google Shopping. To find out how, check out useful rules for Google Shopping help center article.|
|Shipping Country||If this information isn’t already in your feed, you should know where your items will be shipping from. As it’ll probably be a fixed country, you can go ahead and make a new mapping field and then just set a country name as the shipping country.|
|Id||This information can be any form of number/combination that uniquely identifies each of your items. Note the word, unique.|
|Size||For clothing items, it’s important you send the size to Google Shopping. If this value is perhaps at the end of the title, you can simply use Channable’s split text value.|
|Age group||The age group is only applicable if you want to advertise clothing items with Google Shopping. The specific groups they accept are: ‘newborn’, ‘infant’, ‘toddler’, ‘kids’ and ‘adult’. With this list in mind, you could use a rule such as search for value (search for specific sizes) and then use the replacement value option. So, any clothing item with the size 0 - 9 months can be assigned to the age group ‘newborn’ by searching for it and replacing the value with ‘newborn’.|
|Color||The color of an item is only applicable for fashion items. Luckily Google Shopping doesn’t specify color names, so feel free to use the values you have in your feed. If you don’t have them in a specific field, simply create a new field and search for the value.|
|Gender||This information is only needed for sending fashion items to Google Shopping and needs to be either unisex, female or male. If you sell only fashion items for one gender, this field can be easily provided by creating a new field and setting the value to the ‘Google recognized’ gender you sell to.|
|****Currency||This is only necessary for using Channable's API connection with Google Shopping. You can either choose from 'EUR/GBP/USD/CAD/NOK/SEK/DKK/CHF' from Channable's built in drop down menu or implement it into the feed with a new field and ‘set to value’ rule. Make sure this value is true to what is displayed in the URL link of the item.|
** Mandatory for feeds only (because when you create an API connection you already specify in the first step what the unique ID per item is) *** Mandatory only for when fashion is selected as 'Type of market' in feed settings ****Mandatory only for Google Shopping API
So, there you have it, Channable's guide to creating quality Google Shopping feeds. Your items are more likely to get accepted first time round by ensuring that the above-mentioned information exists in your Google Shopping feeds/API connection. Naturally, the more information the better. So, do pay attention to the recommended and optional information in the build/finalize steps in Channable. This way, consumers will be wowed by the detail you provide and could find you more reliable than other merchants. To get started with advertising on Google Shopping with Channable, sign up here for an unlimited free trial or get in contact with a Channable representative, they’re very friendly.
Channable and Store Growers discussed these points in a knowledge session and shared even further insight into how important it is to solve disapproved items. You can watch the knowledge session here.