• Jay Trisko

6 Google Shopping Programs and How to Set Them Up

by Joshua Uebergang Jun 13, 2019

Google shared its conservative estimate that "for every $1 spent on Google Ads, a business makes $8 in profit from Google Ads and Search."

In particular, retailers are jumping on Google Shopping—a feature of Google Ads made especially for selling physical products.

Google Shopping continues to represent a growth opportunity for online stores in 2019. Here’s just a bit of evidence to back up that claim:

Google Express is competing with Amazon by letting retailers sell directly through the Express platform and Google Home.Google Shopping placements continued expanding following Google’s Marketing Live 2019 announcement of new opportunities for retailers to get in front of customers with Shopping ads in Google Discover.Shopify’s Google Shopping app makes it easier than ever for retailers to get their first sales from shopping ads.

Merchants like Galen Leather, a handmade leather goods store, saw results from Google Shopping shoot up in 2018, which helped its sales elsewhere. “Our Google Shopping traffic from the start to end of 2018 tripled,” says Yusuf Prens, co-owner of Galen Leather. “According to attribution analytics, this had the secret benefit of assisting 11% of total sales across other platforms.”

Below, you’ll find a comprehensive guide to understanding and implementing the six main Google Shopping programs offered by Google to help retailers get more out of the platform.

What is Google Shopping?

Google Shopping is part of Google’s advertising platform. Its main purpose is to allow customers to search for, compare, and easily buy products online.

When a consumer makes a purchase-related search on Google, such as “hats” or “toys online,” a range of products from that category are displayed alongside other search engine results. Typically, you’ll see images, prices, product descriptions, reviews, star ratings, promotions, and other details meant to make the shopping process more convenient.

The reviews, star ratings, and promotions, in particular, are three types of Merchant Center programs. Each significantly increases the chance of conversion, which is why Google Shopping is a must-have for merchants.

Casey Coleman, of teeth whitening company Cali White, says Google Shopping is critical to driving direct Shopify sales. “We’re an Amazon bestseller in toothpaste, yet we found Google Shopping drove 24% of direct revenue,” says Casey. “You’re always looking for ways to grow and get a competitive advantage. Merchant Center programs help differentiate us not only from competitors but also from our own products advertised by third-party platforms in Google Shopping.”

Before using Google Shopping, you’ll need to sign up to Google Merchant Center, then link it to your Google Ads. Within Google Merchant Center there are six main programs you can set up:

Google Local Inventory AdsGoogle Shopping ActionsGoogle Merchant PromotionsGoogle Dynamic RemarketingGoogle Seller RatingsGoogle Product Ratings

Google Local Inventory Ads

Google Trends reveals the explosive growth of location-based searches. People searching “near me” phrases naturally show a strong intent to locate something near them, and the phrase’s volume continues to grow worldwide.

According to a 2018 Google study, “‘Near me’ is no longer just about finding a specific place. It’s now about finding a specific thing, in a specific area, and in a specific period of time.” “Near me” searches combined with “can I buy” or “to buy” have grown 500% over two years.

This represents a massive opportunity for Shopify stores with a retail location. If you can turn these searches into in-store sales, you stand to make a significant profit, and Google Local Inventory Ads are one of the best tools to help.

What are Local Inventory Ads?

Google Local Inventory Ads are digital ads that showcase your products and store information to nearby shoppers using Google’s search engine. If a shopper chooses to click one of your ads, they’re taken to a Google-hosted page for your store, known as a “local storefront.” A typical local storefront provides critical information about the seller, including:

Store inventoryOpening hoursDirections to the store


There are many advantages to using Google’s Local Inventory Ads. For one, local ads boost your visibility in your local area. This means it becomes easier for you to be seen by customers who are actually able to visit your physical store. This has been proven time and again to result in increased foot traffic and, subsequently, more sales. Additionally, Local Inventory Ads allow you to:

Bring your local store online. There are many businesses out there that still don’t have a digital presence. Google Local Inventory Ads can help you quickly take your local store online.Promote your in-store inventory. In addition to taking your business online, Local Inventory Ads give you an excellent opportunity to let shoppers know you have the items they’re looking for.Measure performance. Finally, you can easily measure the impact of your ads on foot traffic and in-store sales.

Getting started with Google Local Inventory Ads

First and foremost, you must have a physical store in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, the UK, or the US to be able to use Google’s Local Inventory Ads.

If you meet this geographic criteria, you can begin by reading through the Local Inventory Ads onboarding guide to learn what else is required, including:

Getting Google My Business configuredCreating then submitting multiple feeds in Google Merchant CentreVerifying your inventory with GoogleConfiguring Google Ads to run Local Inventory Ads

From there, the set-up is straightforward. Just remember to also set up Google Analytics for your local storefront. This way, you’ll be able to track and measure important metrics, such as page views, clicks, requests for directions, and calls.

After setting up your Local Inventory ads program, consider the following best practices to boost your chances of success.

Enable Local Inventory ads with Shopping ads in the same campaignSet granular locations in your location settingsConsider only running local ads during your physical store’s business hoursSplit product groups by channel. (e.g., split items available in-store versus those that are online only)Segment by click type (e.g., compare online product clicks to local product clicks)Segment by device and store visits

Google Shopping Actions

Imagine this scenario: Selina, while browsing a few items on Google, comes across a sponsored listing of a dress from a retailer. She decides to add it to her Google Express cart. Later that day, she decides to order a matching pair of shoes through Google Voice via her Google Home and adds it to the same cart. Then, upon getting home, she decides to purchase both products.

A fragmented shopping experience is increasingly becoming the way shoppers make purchases. At times, they want to complete purchases without the trouble of visiting the merchant’s website. Google Shopping Actions was designed precisely for this.

What are Google Shopping Actions?

Shopping Actions is a program that allows retailers of all sizes to show their products across various Google platforms, enabling a fast, simple, and secure shopping experience for users.

The program uses a searchable list, universal shopping cart, and instant checkout with saved payment information, letting shoppers move effortlessly from browsing to buying.


As you can tell, the main advantage of Shopping Actions is the incredible convenience. Many minor issues, including navigation and complicated check-out processes, regularly stop shoppers from making purchases. Google Shopping Actions goes a long way in addressing these problems. It can also:

Improve the shopping experience. Shopping Actions provides a frictionless shopping experience across multiple Google interfaces.Promote customer loyalty. Customers are happier when they can find the products they want without having to look too hard. Shopping Actions helps make this happen, helping endear customers to your brand.

Shopping Actions currently is available only in the US and France, and not all Google devices are supported. Only Google Express, Google Assistant, and Google Search are supported in the US, while only one platform, shopping.google.fr, is supported in France.

Getting started with Google Shopping Actions

To set up Google Shopping Actions, begin by filling the Actions application form, then wait to be approved.

If you’re approved, proceed to the installation of the Google Express integration Shopify appand follow the prompts to complete the setup process. After that’s done, all that remains is setting up feed management, payment information, and a return policy. All these can be done in the Google Merchant Center.

Since Shopping Actions is a new program, figuring out its full benefits may still take some trial and error. The following tips should help boost your performance:

Be sure to upload your product catalog dataIf you’re a manufacturer, take advantage of the Google Manufacturer CenterSubmit your Google Merchant Promotions feed for Shopping ActionsSubmit pricing-specific details to generate unique pricesUse Shopping Actions for remarketing in Google Ads (yes, you can do that)Aim for “top retailer” status to improve your standingKeep an eye on Shopping Actions insights

Google Merchant Promotions

Every merchant understands the value of promotions. A “10% off” sign under one of your products, for example, can generate a ton of traffic, resulting in more sales.

Google Merchant Promotions is an innovative way to promote offers on Google Shopping. And it’s not just discounts you can promote—the feature covers a wide range of offers designed to help sellers generate more traffic and sales.

What are Merchant Promotions?

Google defines Merchant Promotions as a “free feature that allows you to distribute online promotions with Google Shopping ads on Google.com.”

When you add a promotion to a product on Google, your shoppers will see a “special offer” link alongside the product. Such links have been shown to increase the appeal of a product as well as encourage shoppers to buy.


The most significant advantage of Promotions in any of your Google Shopping campaigns is increased conversions. Humans naturally like promotions: according to a 2015 Statista study, 64% of shoppers wait until items go on sale before making a purchase, while up to 59% search for promo codes when shopping.

Merchant Promotions also can be used to:

Improve brand awarenessBoost click-through ratesIncrease multi-screen traffic

Getting started with Google Merchant Promotions

At the time of this writing, Merchant Promotions is available in Australia, France, Germany, India, the UK, and the US. You can only use Merchant Promotions after submitting your products’ feed to the Google Merchant Center. With this done, you can create different types of promotions for your products. Simply click the three vertical dots in Merchant Center, go to Merchant Center Programs, and enable Merchant Promotions.

Every new promotion must go through Google for review. At the moment, Google allows three main types of promotions:

Discounts. These include percent off, cash back, buy-one-get-one-free, and buy one get x% off deals.Free gifts. These include any items you wish to give away free of charge as well as gift cards given after specified purchases.Shipping promotions. These include free and discounted shipping.

All promotions expire within six months (183 days) of their start dates and must be run per Google policies and editorial requirements. On top of that, you should also:

Allow at least 24 hours for reviewEnsure each promotion provides value to customersAvoid overly promotional language, punctuation, and capitalizationAlways double-check your promotional codesKeep in mind that once a promotion is approved, you cannot edit it

Google Dynamic Remarketing

This one isn’t new. In fact, you’ve likely come across Google remarketing ads many times.

Just recall the last time you visited a merchant store, whether or not you made a purchase. After the visit, you must have seen ads from that merchant following you around on nearly every website you visited. That was no coincidence. It was the merchant whose site you visited earlier trying to get your attention—a strategy known as remarketing.

What is Google Dynamic Remarketing?

Dynamic Remarketing is a Google program that allows merchants to show ads to people who previously have shown interest in their products or services after visiting their websites or using their apps.

The best thing about this service is that you can show previous visitors ads that contain the exact products or services they were looking for. This is different from other remarketing services that display general products/services, even if they are irrelevant to the customers.


With messages tailored to your audience, Google Dynamic Remarketing helps merchants generate leads and sales by bringing previous visitors back to their websites to complete the journey they started. But it doesn’t end there— dynamic remarketing can also do the following:

Allow you to utilize the incredible Google Display Network. GDN reaches more than 90% of the people who use the internet. Dynamic remarketing gives you access to this huge group.Make it possible to target ads based on demographic data. You can analyze previous site visitors to determine their likelihood of making a purchase.Provide opportunity for close budget management. Among other things, Google allows for real-time bid optimization and high-performance analytics layouts to help you maximize your profitability.

Getting started with Google Dynamic Remarketing

To create an effective Google Dynamic Remarketing ad campaign for your Shopify store you must:

Link your Google Ads and Merchant Center accountsSet up Google Analytics for Dynamic RemarketingAdd the remarketing code to your websiteStart creating the ads

You can also copy and paste the following complete remarketing code into your theme.liquid file after the opening <head> tag, as long as you make two adjustments:

Replace UA-Property_ID with your Google Analytics tracking IDReplace AW-Google_Conversion_ID with the unique number tied to your Google Ads account.

{% if template contains 'product' or template contains 'collection' or template contains 'index' or template contains 'search' or template contains 'cart' %}

<!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics -->

<script async src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=UA-PROPERTY_ID"></script>


window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];

function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}

gtag('js', new Date());

gtag('config', 'UA-PROPERTY_ID', {'send_page_view': false, 'custom_map': {'dimension1': 'ecomm_prodid', 'dimension2': 'ecomm_pagetype', 'dimension3': 'ecomm_totalvalue'}});

gtag('config', 'AW-GOOGLE_CONVERSION_ID');



gtag('event', 'page_view', {

'ecomm_pagetype': '{% if template contains 'collection' %}category{% elsif template contains 'search' %}searchresults{% elsif template contains 'product' %}product{% elsif template contains 'cart' %}cart{% elsif template contains 'index' %}home{% endif %}',{% endif %}

{% if template contains 'product' %}

'ecomm_prodid': 'shopify_US_{{ product.id }}_{% if product.variants.first.id %}{{ product.variants.first.id }}',{% else %}{{ product.variants.id }}',{% endif %}

'ecomm_totalvalue': {{ product.price_min | money_without_currency | replace: ',', '.' }},

{% elsif template contains 'cart' %}

'ecomm_prodid': [{% for item in cart.items %}'shopify_US_{{ item.product_id }}_{{ item.variant_id }}'{% unless forloop.last %}, {% endunless %}{% endfor %}],

'ecomm_totalvalue': {{ cart.total_price | money_without_currency | replace: ',', '.' }},

{% endif %}

'non_interaction': true



{% endif %}

To reap maximum rewards from your Dynamic Remarketing campaign, make sure you consider the following:

Your privacy policy should be up to date. This will help you address any legal concerns with remarketing, such as GDPR.Your frequency should be capped. It’s not wise to continue showing ads to people who simply won’t buy.Some products are prohibited for remarketing. These include hair growth shampoos, pregnancy clothes, and creams for itchy skin. Read the Google remarketing policy to learn more.Set higher bids for cart abandoners. There’s usually low-hanging fruit to capture here.

Google Seller Ratings

Google recently made the automated Seller Ratings (ASR) extension available in all markets. This means online merchants across the globe can now easily add ratings to their products. The search giant also says that Seller Ratings can boost an ad’s CTR by as much as 17%.

Here’s a brief overview of this new program to help you understand and start using it in your Shopify store.

What are Seller Ratings?

Google Seller Ratings is a service that showcases advertisers with ratings higher than 3.5/5. These ratings are aggregated by Google from reputable platforms. According to Google, the sources they include are:

Google Customer ReviewsStellaServiceGoogle customer Surveys ratingsThird-party sources, like Yotpo and Power Reviews

Seller Ratings are displayed below text ads in Google Search ads, shopping ads in Google Shopping, and in Google’s Search Network campaigns. Note that you don’t have to be a Google Shopping user or have a Google Merchant Center account to use the ratings.


Some of the benefits of Google Seller Ratings include:

Positive ratings encourage more purchases. Humans like to follow the herd when making a decision. A higher Seller Rating will, therefore, convince shoppers that you’re the merchant they should be buying from.Ratings are useful for building trust. If your products consistently show up with high Seller Ratings, consumers will get the impression that you’re a reliable brand.Ratings boost SERP performance. Brands with high Seller Ratings may appear higher up in search results because the yellow stars attract attention and clicks. Increased engagement on a website and increased trust helps SEO.

Getting started with Seller Ratings

The setup process will depend on what review platforms you use for your Shopify store. If you use Google Customer Reviews, then the process is simple. Log into your Google Merchant Center account, locate Customer Reviews, and add the optional survey opt-in module so shoppers can provide reviews after making a purchase.

Another way to set up Seller Ratings on your Shopify store is by using Yotpo. After installing Yotpo, enable Seller Ratings.

Achieving a 17% increase in CTR would be a fantastic return for any business. However, can you actually achieve it? Here are a couple of tips to help you get there:

Check that you’ve qualified for Seller Ratings. Sometimes merchants wait indefinitely for Seller Ratings to appear alongside their products when, in fact, they don’t qualify for the program. Always check to ensure you meet all the requirements. These include having at least 100 unique reviews written over the past 12 months and attaining an average rating of 3.5 stars or higher.Work on your ad quality. The position and rank of your ad have a significant bearing on whether or not your Seller Ratings appear alongside your ads.Track your performance and improve. To find out how your Seller Rating campaign is performing, select a campaign with Seller Ratings and, in the menu, click on Ads and Extensions and select Automated Extensions. Then, select Columns and choose the metrics you wish to measure.

Google Product Ratings

Finally, Shopify store owners can also take advantage of Google Product Ratings to boost their profitability.

Don’t confuse this with Seller Ratings, however. While they both involve stars appearing next to your ads, they are significantly different.

What are Google Product Ratings?

Product Ratings are another feature that shows stars next to products on the internet. However, there are a few clear differences between them and Seller Ratings:

Product Ratings apply to individual products, while Seller Ratings apply to the seller (meaning the business as a whole).With Product Ratings, you must have at least 50 product reviews over all time. For Seller Ratings, you need at least 100 ratings in the past 12 months.For Product Ratings to appear, the individual product must have at least three ratings. For Seller Ratings, this isn’t required, as long as the seller has 100+ ratings in total. Product Ratings appear as 1-5 stars. Seller Ratings appear only as 3.6 stars or more.Product Ratings appear primarily in Google Shopping ads and only occasionally on product listings on Google. Seller Ratings, meanwhile, appear in Google Shopping and search ads.


Similar to Seller Ratings, Google Product Ratings give shoppers confidence in you as the seller, your brand, and your products. The ratings also:

Give you critical feedback. The most crucial part of doing business is giving customers precisely what they want. Product Ratings give merchants feedback to better understand their customers’ needs.Boost conversions. Shoppers often go for products with higher ratings. The higher the number of people behind the ratings, the better. Seller Ratings shows an average rating for the store while Product Ratings show the number of ratings per product and its average.Help merchants catch attention with Google Shopping. The competition for attention on Google Shopping is stiff. Product Ratings can help you stand apart from other advertisers.

Getting Started with Google Product Ratings

Setting up Google Product Ratings isn’t difficult. Begin by filling out the Product Ratings request form. Then, wait to be approved. If your application is accepted, all you have to do is provide Google with the ratings.

That, too, is easy. For those that use an approved third-party ratings aggregator, such as Trustpilot, Yotpo, or Verified Reviews, Google will automatically get your ratings from there. If you collect reviews on your own, however, you’ll have to send the ratings in the feed submitted to Google Merchant Center.

There are no hidden secrets when it comes to product ratings. It all comes down to the customer’s satisfaction. That said, the following tips have proven to help get more (and better) ratings:

Ask for ratings. You’re a lot more likely to get ratings when you ask for them.Respond to poor ratings/reviews. If someone leaves a meager rating, reach out and attempt to resolve their issues. They’ll likely come back with a better rating.Consider third-party review platforms. These platforms do a great job when it comes to soliciting reviews and ratings.

Take advantage of Google Merchant Center programs

Google currently has six incredible merchant programs, namely: Local Inventory Ads, Shopping Actions, Merchant Promotions, Dynamic Remarketing, Seller Ratings, and Product Ratings. These programs present Shopify store owners with an excellent opportunity to boost their visibility, traffic, and sales. If you’re serious about making more money from your store, especially through Google Ads, this is the time to jump on board!

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