Call it the COVID-19 effect or a response strategy to beat Amazon but, Google is opening up its Shopping Search Results to unpaid Organic listings.
Problems can be Opportunities
On Tuesday, Google’s President of Commerce Bill Ready announced in a blogpost that the COVID-19 crisis has been a catalyst in advancing the decision to make Google Shopping free for merchants.
In the blogpost, Ready shared, “Beginning next week, search results on the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free listings, helping merchants better connect with consumers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google.”
This could mean that millions of merchants who have lost sales due to the closure of their physical stores can showcase their products and reach out to customers who use Google on a daily basis.
The Amazon Effect
Though the COVID-19 has accelerated Google’s decision to open up Shopping to all merchants, there’s no denying that Amazon has also had a role to play in this.
Amazon has gradually been taking up a big chunk of product search and advertising. Faced with such fierce competition, restricting the display of products on Shopping can only backfire on Google.
Thus, opening up to the entire gamut of vendors is a smart strategic move for Google. Not only the merchants and the customers but also the Search Engine will gain from the move.
And now for the nitty-gritty of how it will work…
Paid vs. Organic Listing
The paid listings will occupy the top and the bottom of the page while the organic ones will feature between them.
However, the main Google results page will undergo no change. The carousels and PLAs will continue to consist of ads only.
How to Get Started
Merchants wanting to list their products in the organic stream will have to open a Google Merchant Center account with the product feed uploaded in there. Also, the “surfaces across Google” option will have to be selected to appear in the organic listing. The same has been detailed by Google in an article here.
The change will roll out completely by the end of April in the US and by the end of the year, across the globe.
So, get ready to serve customers online!