Google Shopping, previously known as Google Product Search, is a global shopping Google service that facilitates customers in product search, comparison and buying. The results this service proposes are shown on the main Google search page and on the special shopping tab. The latter provides additional options for product specification like price, brand style, color, etc.
In order to use Google Shopping for product placement, a merchant need to register at two additional Google services: Google AdWords and Google Merchant Center. The latter is a service that works with the product feed received from the merchant's store and is used to analyze the product attributes that are being sold.
There are several ways to upload your product catalog to external shopping services. Product feeds are used across numerous internet services that provide services for shopping, product comparison, advertisements, etc. Using the product feed, an online shop can upload its product catalog to the marketplaces, comparison engines, targeting networks, and affiliate services.
Using the product feed Google allows you to save time in adapting the product catalog of your store to the requirements of the external platform. The product feed can be created quickly with a mostly automated process by using a plug in for your store. The result feed will be optimized for the requirements of the external platform.
The product feed is usually a file that contains structured information on the product catalog. Typically a shopping feed can be a file of XML, CSV or TXT format. This file includes all the information regarding products, including product images, attributes, description, price, availability, etc.
To connect the product catalog of your store with the Google Shopping service, you need to first register at Google Merchant Center. It supports data uploading via shopping feeds - a file with the information on all the products for advertise through Google platform. The registration step is required only once to upload new feeds.
Google Merchant Center supports two types of feeds - primary and supplemental. The primary Google Shopping feed is the main source of data on the products for the service. The supplemental feed delivers the information that is missing in the primary product feed.
It is recommended by Google that the product information should be uploaded to one primary feed. The created feed has no usage limits across features of the Merchant Center.
To register in the Merchant Center, you'll need to enter your business information: business name, and address. The former one will be displayed to all Google users. Also, you should specify the place for customers to check out: local store, on Google, on your website. You can select multiple variants and change them in the future. Also, you should set up the way you want to be reached by the service via email.
The last step is to accept Terms of Service, and your account will be ready for receiving the product feed from your store and displaying it on Google Shopping and other Google services.
When you've installed the Omega Shopping Feeds plugin, open its main page and visit the Feeds tab. This tab shows the list of all created product feeds for different shopping engines. Since you are free to modify any feed, there can be multiple Google shopping feeds for one shopping engine.
To create a feed, click on the Add feed button and from the list, select the marketplace the feed is designated to. Click the button Choose Marketplace on the shopping service you need to create the feed for. In this case, it is Google Shopping.
Let's start a configuration of the product feed for Google Shopping data feed on a real google shopping feed example. A standard process of google shopping feed management requires you to input general information regarding the feed. This section requires setting feeds' internal name to be displayed in the list of feeds and other places. Additionally, you can specify a brief description of the feed to provide more information.
Set the unique filename for the feed file, for example, give a google shopping feed template the name of google_shopping.xml. This name will be used in the feed URL.
You may need to specify category mapping if the internal taxonomy of your store doesn't fully correspond to the taxonomy of the Google Shopping. Category mapping is explained explicitly in the Omega Shopping Feeds manual.
When your product feed has too many items, it may be rejected by the marketplace. Google Merchant Center limits the number of items in one feed for every user account. Uploading a feed that is above this limit will cause the error 'Offer quota full," and the feed will be rejected. The limit of the Merchant Center varies, and the allowed number is somewhere in between of 50 000 to 200 000.
You can simply limit the maximum number of products per feed's file. If you definitely need to submit google shopping feed which has a number of items that is above the limit, you can contact the support of Merchant Center and ask to increase the limit for your account.
Lastly, select whether this particular feed should be active. For full google shopping feed requirements, check out the useful links at the bottom of this page.
In this section, specify filters to remove irrelevant products to this feed. For example, you may want to exclude items with zero listed price, with no picture, those that are out of stock, etc.
Click on the filter to activate it for a particular product feed. The filter creation process in details is shown in the Omega Shopping Feeds manual.
In this section, specify the information regarding the feed that can not be fetched automatically. For the Google Shopping product feed, provide the following information:
Track the performance of your feed by using the Google Analytics tool. Specify UTM codes that our module will add to URLs of your products. Set the campaign source name, campaign medium and campaign name.
When all necessary information is provided, scroll the page up and click the Save button. In the splash notification, press the link Generate Feed to finish the feed creation process.
Google Merchant Center provides several uploading options, and our shopify module supports the most common of them: direct and FTP/SFTP upload. Also, scheduled fetches are supported.
Obtain the feed file by navigating to the modules' section with feeds and clicking Edit. Download the feed file using the provided feed URL.
To use direct upload of the feed file follow the procedure:
Additionally, you can test the uploaded feed by clicking Upload as a test button.
Depending on the filesize of your feed, the uploading process may take some time. The maximum supported file size is 4 GB.
FTP and SFTP protocols are common ways to transfer files online. Since SFTP uses encryption, it is strongly recommended that you upload the product feed files via SFTP.
Create an SFTP or FTP account by following the procedure:
In the Omega Shopping Feeds, navigate to the feed you need to upload and click Edit, then click Upload feed button. Here you will need to specify the details of your SFTP or FTP account.
To upload the feed file via SFTP, set the following information:
Click the Save button to finish changes. Press Upload feed now to immediately send the product feed to the Merchant Center.
In the navigation menu of Merchant Center account select Products and click Feeds. Select the feed for scheduled fetch and click Settings. On the subpage menu specify the schedule type, timing, URL of the feed. Provide access credentials if the file is available only to logged-in users.
You can provide the link to the file with your feed and Merchant Center will regularly fetch it.
Google Merchant Center has a long list of requirements for the product feeds it receives. You should not follow them directly since some of them are not mandatory, and others may not suit your product catalog.
If you want your products to be approved for display in Google Shopping service, it is recommended that you take a closer look at the product feed specifications Google requires you to comply with. Create a product feed of your catalog and then check if it corresponds to the Google product feed specification.
Get full information on Google feed specification and product data attributes in the Google help center.