Google has recently announced an update to their Google Shopping feed. This update is mandatory and will go into effect on September 30, 2014.
Here are the specific changes and our current thoughts on how they might affect your store.
- To ensure online shopping via all mobile phones works well, you can now provide a separate mobile landing page via the 'mobile link' attribute.
Modern Retail is a little surprised by this addition given Google's stance on responsive design. When a website is built to be responsive, there is only one page for all display types: desktop, tablet and mobile. We're not sure why Google added this attribute, but it doesn't really affect us given Modern Retail's direction is make every website responsive.
- We are expanding our support to merchant-defined bundles. Many consumer products are sold in custom bundles, such as a camera with a lens and a bag. The feed specification now includes the 'is bundle' attribute, which should be used when submitting merchant-defined bundles.
This new 'is bundle' attribute sounds like it will be useful for customers selling things together in a bundle or package, usually at a reduced rate.
- We are simplifying the 'availability' attribute by merging 'in stock' with 'available for order' and removing 'available for order'. All items that can be shipped in a timely manner can now simply use the 'in stock' value. In addition, we are now offering an 'availability date' attribute that you can use to let shoppers know when pre-ordered products will be available for delivery.
Yes, this does simplify things a bit. If you are using HipCommerce, then this modification will automatically be made in your feeds. If you are using WooCommerce or Magento, they will need to be manually updated. Please create a Support Request if you have any questions.
- We have refreshed our apparel articles to provide more examples and clearer guidance on all things apparel. We are also adding new values to 'age group' and introducing two new size attributes to allow an even more detailed apparel description and filtering ('size system' and 'size type').
This has always been a question for us! What does Google consider an apparel item? Sounds like they are trying to clarify this a bit. Right now 'age group' only consists of "Adult" and "Kids". Looks like they are expanding this to more divisions. I wonder if they go so far as to specify age groups? We'll document them as soon as we can figure this out.
- Our new image quality recommendations now include even more details and tips on how to submit high quality images that draw users’ attention to your products. For example, submit images taken on a white, gray or lightly colored background – that way the product will be clearly visible and recognizable to users on all devices.
I wonder if Google will put anything in place to disallow your products if your images do not meet their recommendations? We'll document what they are when we find out more.
- To display all product data in the most effective way, the feed specification now clearly states how many characters can be used for most attributes.
Ok. We'll document what they are as soon as we can figure it out.
- We have replaced the existing destination URL policy with the new landing page content policy. This refined policy comes with more background details, additional examples and explanations as well as an implementation guideline for submitting landing page URLs.
Again, we will make these policies known to all as soon as we can figure them out.
All-in-all, these updates don't look too bad. Unfortunately, it will take a bit of digging to figure everything out. Stay tuned and we'll update you as soon as we do. Thank you.