In three weeks, consumers will have their devices in hand and be ready to line up at stores to continue their holiday shopping over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Will you be ready? We’ve made a list of recommendations and hope you’ll check it twice to help you dial up holiday performance. See our first pro tip below and check back next week for what’s next on the list.
Pro tip #1: Help shoppers discover more of your products through Merchant Center
The holiday season continues to be an important time for retail marketers and is growing more competitive every year. According to Mastercard Advisors, retail had its largest season ever ($853 billion) last year with ecommerce sales reaching their strongest growth in over a decade, at an 18.4 percent increase from the year before.
And while this year’s holiday shopping season is a week shorter than last year, there’s good news for marketers: research shows the period to influence shoppers starts earlier and extends longer than ever.
To help you reach these eager shoppers, we’re introducing new features in Merchant Center to help you promote and sell your products this holiday season:
Expand your feeds to show on Shopping ads in 50+ new markets
Quickly upload your products globally through automated feeds
Strengthen your reviews with user-generated images for Product Ratings
Easily manage your inventory with the new Merchant Center experience and automatic image improvements
Reach more holiday shoppers around the world
70 percent of global consumers made at least one crossborder purchase according to a recent Pitney Bowes report. Promote the products you sell and find better qualified leads by putting your products in front of people searching on Google around the world. With Shopping ads now available in more than 50 new markets, and 95 total markets, you can expand your global footprint more than ever.
Start showing your products globally with multi-country feeds, which allow you to target multiple countries that share the same language by using a single feed in that language. For example, if you upload product information in German for Germany, those products may be automatically available to show in other German-speaking countries, such as Austria and Switzerland. You’ll just need to set up shipping and location targeting for these countries in your Shopping campaign in order to start promoting your products in these new countries.
If you don’t already have a feed, you can submit your products more quickly with automated feeds, available in all Shopping ads countries starting in November. Simply enable Merchant Center to crawl your website for structured data and extract your most up-to-date product information for your initial feed.
Turn browsers into buyers with more visual reviews
A recent Google/Ipsos study shows that Google is the first place consumers go to research a purchase they plan to make. But beyond turning to search to read product reviews, shoppers are increasingly becoming inspired by images, with 50 percent of digital shoppers saying images helped them decide what to buy, according to Google’s Consumer Survey this year.
To help shoppers feel more confident in their purchases, we’re introducing user-generated images in product reviews on Shopping ads. You can now include review images in your product review feeds, allowing customers to visually connect with what you sell through pictures of previous customers wearing or using your products.
To get started, see our updated schema documentation, and ensure all images you submit are compliant with our policies for user-generated images. You can sign up for the Product Ratings program here. This experience is currently available on mobile in the US, with plans to expand across more Google properties and countries over the coming months.
Manage your inventory across Google more easily
The new Merchant Center experience has been redesigned with clearer workflows, simpler navigation, and more program insights. You can use the updated interface to easily manage your products, like enabling automatic image improvements to remove promotional overlays on your product images to comply with Merchant Center policies. You can also discover additional opportunities to promote and sell your products.
For example, you can opt your inventory into surfaces across Google in the US and India to allow your products to show across Google for free, including rich snippets in search results and product annotations in Google images. Surfaces across Google will be coming to additional countries before the end of the year.
Ready to get started? Get more tips and best practices for driving holiday sales.