NZ Google Shopping
Over the last few days there have been headlines hitting the major news outlets that Google Shopping will now be offered to New Zealand businesses. As with any big development in the Google world, that could present a big opportunity for online retail businesses (big or small), so here is a quick run down on what you need to know.
The first question - do you sell your products?
This is the major one. If you don't have some sort of e-commerce platform, you can probably stop reading now and be happy you've done your due diligence! Google Shopping effectively puts you products straight into the search results in a product carousel (see the screenshot from Google's page below). In our opinion, getting into that newsfeed with your quality product, at the right price, should give an immediate bump in sales.
For those companies that sell products in store, but don't have an e-commerce website, the platform might still be useful, but because you might not have the structure that an e-commerce site gives you for setting up with Google Shopping, you might find it a bit trickier to get to work for your benefit. That said, there are local targeted adverts that include stock numbers nearby if you do go to the effort - which should help get people through your shopfront doors.
How does it work?
Google will basically take all the important data about your product - the image, the price, the name of your store, where you are located, product deals, as well as product reviews (if you have them) and present them at the top of the search list in a carousel format. To do that, you'll need to tell Google what to look at - creating a Merchant Account and 'hooking up' your products to the Google brains trust. The technical way to do that is using an API, which you'll generally need a developer or someone experienced with API's to hook up, but Google does offer you the ability to upload directly with a file that you download straight from your e-commerce platform. With that set up, you'll also need to hook up your AdWords account and create a Shopping campaign. To find out more it's probably best to have a dig around Google's explanatory site, or chat to someone in the know.
Does it cost?
Like everything Google - the answer is yes and no. No, it won't cost you to sign up for a Merchant Account, and by doing that you'll have at least given your product information to Google. However, YES, it will cost for you to advertise that shopping info in Google Shopping. It's basically a more direct version of AdWords advertising (pay per click), except with your product front and centre.
Is the juice worth the squeeze?
This is the question we always ask with any type of advertising. How much time and money will be spent on any campaign, versus the potential upside. Google Shopping falls into an interesting category. We definitely see huge potential upside, but if you don't have your product pricing, and product offering right, then that upside will largely fall flat anyway. There is also a fair amount of setup that will go into the campaign, and to do well you'll probably need to monitor it quite heavily - it won't be a set and forget type thing. So it all comes down to the time factor. Can your time be better spent on another aspect of your business than on this type of advertising? That'll be a decision each business owner will end up having to make themselves, but it is definitely worth a serious look for all online stores.