What you need to know
- Google is making retail listings free on Google Shopping.
- The changes roll out from the end of April in the U.S., coming globally before the end of the year.
- Google had planned to introduce thee changes eventually, but the coronavirus pandemic forced an acceleration of the timeline.
Google will now start letting businesses list their inventory online for free on Google Shopping. Previously, it would have charged businesses for a product listing on the Shopping page, soon listings will be done for free. Merchants will still have to pay if they want to be promoted, but it's now free to be listed and surfaced organically if a customer searches a relevant term.
Google's president of commerce, Bill Ready explained the move in a blog post:
Beginning next week, search results on the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free product listings, helping merchants better connect with consumers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google. With hundreds of millions of shopping searches on Google each day, we know that many retailers have the items people need in stock and ready to ship, but are less discoverable online.
Google says that it has been working on this for a while, but the advent of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent embrace of online shopping necessarily advanced its plans.
The benefits are twofold here, retailers get free exposure via Google and can now afford to list a broader set of their products without financial concerns arising, while people searching for products have access to a wider catalog of products than they would normally.
"This will speed up our onboarding process and ensure we're surfacing the highest quality results for our users," Ready said, "And we're continuing to work closely with many of our existing partners that help merchants manage their products and inventory, including Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce, to make digital commerce more accessible for businesses of all sizes."
Google will enable these changes by the end of April in the U.S., with plans to bring it globally before the end of the year.
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