Last year, Google replaced Google Product Search with a new service – Google Shopping. By July, the changeover will be complete in the UK. The most significant difference is that merchants that could previously list with Google for free will now have to pay to be included. So it’s important that everybody in the eCommerce marketplace understands Google Shopping. As ever, the experts at iWeb are here to help with a quick rundown of the changes and their implications for your business.

PLA to win

At the core of Google Shopping are Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Understanding this new fee-based model is crucial for eCommerce sellers. PLAs will offer greater control over where ads appear and can potentially generate higher web site traffic. So what are they and how do they differ from the old Product Search?

A Product Listing Ad is a unique format that allows you to include specific product information – an image, title, price, plus your store or business name. They are highlighted in Google search results by appearing in a separate box away from the standard text listings. The advantage is that they are more visual and naturally invite more clicks. It allows retailers to promote their entire product line and offers the customer more instant information – thus improving conversions.

It’s important that every eCommerce seller becomes familiar with PLAs – or alternatively, you can always rely on iWeb knowhow. But here’s a little advice for free:

The early bird catches the conversions

If you want to steal a march on your eCommerce competitors, get started with Google Shopping early. This will allow you to learn how PLAs work best and refine them for your specific business needs. Optimising your feeds now will pay dividends in the long run.

Build it into your budget

The changes may catch plenty in the eCommerce marketplace unawares. Don’t be one of them. Make sure your market plans for 2013 include a budget provision for the extra cost of Google Shopping – thus ensuring you benefit from increased exposure on this important new channel. If you’d like help with this, you can always call iWeb.

Shoppers want freshness and so does Google

It’s crucial that your product data isn’t past its sell-by date. Provide fresh, accurate data consistently and Google Shopping will love you for it. Optimise your content towards better quality. Identify product target queries and integrate them into the titles and descriptions of your product feed. Stay on top of data changes and it will increase your exposure, offer your customers a better shopping experience and, above all, increase conversions.

Have a strategy for hitting Product Targets

Google Shopping has a central element called Product Targets. These identify which products from data feeds will trigger Product Listing Ads for related searches. Using a Target field, eCommerce sellers can group products together based on key characteristics – like brand name, product genre, price, etc. These can be grouped together to allow retailers to control bids across multiple products based on those characteristics.

It pays for the smart eCommerce business to consider how Product Targets can benefit your business. Should your target be based upon specific brands, types of products, margin or price? Giving some thought to this and having a strategy in place is only sensible. Again, if you’d like help and advice in this area, the experienced heads at iWeb are always available.

Don’t shop around – call iWeb first

The advent of Google Shopping represents a big change in the way your products will be listed online. The move to a fee-based system will have financial implications for your business too. That’s why you need iWeb expertise on your side. We have years of experience in eCommerce and our team can help you navigate the tricky switchover to Google Shopping. So don’t be left behind – contact iWeb today and give your business the online advantage.