Google Merchant Center account setup, help, and resources
When you’re in the mood to shop but don’t feel like leaving your couch, one of the most obvious places to look is Google.
Every day there are a billion shopping sessions on Google, according to Google’s Director of Special Projects Martha Welsh. And nearly 60% of online shoppers turn to Google first, reports Morgan Stanley.
This is even true among Amazon Prime subscribers, according to the same report, though it wasn’t even a year ago when Amazon was deemed the number one search engine for product searches. The reason? Amazon supply shortages. And, quite possibly, the fact that buyers can choose from multiple vendors on Google Shopping.
So, how can your business get set up on Google Shopping and get in front of these buyers? The answer lies within Google Merchant Center (GMC), a command center for all things Google Shopping-related. GMC tends to fly under the radar, but talk to any seller who promotes his or her products on Google and you’ll find that GMC is at the heart of it all. Here’s what you need to know about using GMC for your business.
What is Google Merchant Center (GMC)?
Launched in 2010, Google Merchant Center is a free tool offered by Google that enables you to connect your product data and inventory with Google’s suite of eCommerce tools. It acts as your home base, where you can upload both your online and brick-and-mortar store inventory, and manage everything from Shopping ads to free product listings.
“Merchant Center lets you manage how your in-store and online product inventory appears on Google. Our merchant solutions help you reach hundreds of millions of people looking to buy products like yours each day.”
Benefits of using Google Merchant Center
The biggest perk of GMC is the ability to keep your data and activities together in one place. This alone can save you the stress of bouncing from one channel to the other, and minimize costly errors due to disparate, inconsistent data.
Aside from this, GMC makes it easy to discover all of Google’s merchant services, tools, and platforms. These include:
Free shopping listings: Google allows businesses to list its products for free on the Shopping tab of Google.com. These listings also appear on shopping.google.com, which offers personalized product recommendations based on your Google and shopping history. Both your online and in-store products are eligible to appear in Google Shopping, but in-store products will only appear on the Shopping tab if you’ve opted into the local inventory feature. You’ll want to enable that feature if you own a physical store because it alerts customers when a product they need is available nearby them.
Buy on Google: Buy on Google is an optional program, available to merchants who can deliver and accept returns within the U.S. This program is meant to make checkout easier for your buyers by allowing them to complete their purchases directly on Google. As a participating merchant, you benefit from 0% commission fees. You can additionally connect your own systems for payment processing, inventory, and order management with GMC.
Google Ads: Google Ads is Google’s dedicated advertising platform. It controls advertising across all of Google’s properties including Search, YouTube, Display, Maps, Play, Search Partners, and (of course) Shopping. You can manage ads for all of these different properties from a Google Ads account, but the only way to run Shopping ads is to link your GMC to Google Ads. Google will look at your product feed in GMC to populate content (e.g., text and images) for your Shopping campaigns. In addition to offering your products as free listings on Google, it’s usually a good idea to invest in Shopping ads, which put your products at the top of normal search results—both on Google and across Google’s search partners.
Display & Video 360 (D&V360): Google Display & Video 360 is a demand-side ad platform for media planning, ad creation, measurement, and campaign management. It was previously split between four separate entities—DoubleClick Bid Manager, Campaign Manager, Studio, and Audience Center—which have since been merged into a single tool. D&V360 uses information from your product data feed in GMC to automatically generate ads based on parameters you set (e.g., shoppers’ browsing behavior).
Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business): Google Business Profile allows local businesses to manage their online presence across properties like Maps and Search. You can input important information like business hours, business type, address, and more. You can additionally post photos of your products or respond to reviews left by Google users. (Not to mention, you can manage all of your Google Business Profile details directly in Wix.) By linking your Business Profile with your GMC account, your local products can be displayed on free listings of Shopping ads.
Google Manufacturer Center: Google Manufacturer Center gives brand manufacturers the ability to provide detailed product information about the products they create. You can link your Google Manufacturer account with GMC to help inform search results about brands that you own or license. Per Google, “The information you share and manage in Manufacturer Center helps improve the likelihood that someone searching for a product like yours will find your product.”
Third-party platforms: GMC offers support for a variety of third-party platforms, including PayPal and ShipStation, which are both available through the Wix App Market. Through GMC, you can easily manage your providers for multi-channel shipping, fulfillment, and more.
How to set up your Google Merchant Center account
Luckily, it’s free to create a GMC account. We’ve created a detailed list of instructions for how to do this—but here’s an abbreviated version:
Before getting started, make sure you familiarize yourself with Google’s Merchant Center guidelines. Of critical importance: you must have an online store to list products on Google. Per Google, “Links promoted in Shopping ads and free listings need to lead users directly to a page that allows them to buy the advertised product.”
Create a Google Account if you don’t already have one.
Log into Google Merchant Center with your Google Account.
Verify and claim your store’s website address.
Add your business information.
Set up your product information including free product listings.
(Optional) Set up Buy on Google to enable shoppers to purchase your products without leaving Google.
Once you’ve added your business information to GMC, you can add products one at a time or by bulk uploading products via a product feed. If you’re a Premium Wix eCommerce customer, you can use the Adscale app to simplify this entire process. Adscale creates a merchant account for you and makes it easy to create paid Google Shopping Ads too.
Where to find more support for GMC
As with most of their products, Google has a robust help center dedicated to all things GMC where users can search for issues, browse common topics, and send questions to community experts or to Google itself. Learn tips for setting up your account, optimizing product feeds, and taking advantage of everything that GMC has to offer.
Pro tip for getting started
Note that the success of your Google Shopping listings depend on the quality of your product data and online store. If buyers discover one of your products on Google, you’ll want to make sure that they land on a compelling page.
With Wix, you have the advantage of keeping all of your back-office data and tasks all in one place. Easily export your Wix catalog (including inventory, prices, and product details) into GMC, while leveraging tools for building robust shopping experiences. Offer discounts for first-time buyers. Enable same-day shipping for eligible regions. And harness other conversion rate optimization strategies to clinch the sale.
Remember that getting customers to click on your Shopping listings is just half the battle. The other half entails using advanced eCommerce features to drive visitors towards the right actions. Learn more about selling online with Wix eCommerce and optimize your online store today.
Allison Lee Editor, Wix eCommerce
Allison is the editor for the Wix eCommerce blog, with several years of experience reporting on eCommerce news, strategies, and founder stories.